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THE PIONEER H I SJT 

EDITED BY V. T. HARLOW, M.A., AND J. A. WILLIAMSON, D.LIT. 



THE PORTUGUESE PIONEERS 



W 'PIONEER HISTORIES 
'$%ted by V. T. Harkw, JLf, fif J, / /;<, AW, 



THE EUROPEAN NATIONS 
IN THE WEST INDIES 

ARTHUR PERC1VAL NEWTON, D.UT, 
Mobs Professor of Imperial History CWrirtefj rfLtdn 

ENGLAND'S QUEST OF EASTERN TRADE 

SIR WILLIAM POSTER, C.I.E, 
Fomerly HhtortOjrrap&tr to tkt fadu 0$ 

THE PORTUGUESE PIONEERS 

BDGAR PRESTAGE, D.UTT, 
Camtiu PnfiKor ofPortumst iMmtt anJ Hiiftft 

' 



THE EXPLORERS OF NORTH AMERICA 

J. BARTLET BRBBNER, VU* ?H.D, 
Autttoit Pnfuf t Deprtoat if Matty Ctfatu I'mwii 



THE GREAT TREK 

ERIC A. WALKER, M.A, 

THE EXPLORATION OF THE PACIFIC 

J. C. BBACLEHOLE, PH.D, 

THE SPANISH CONQUISTADORES 

F. A. mWTRlCK, M,A. 



THE PORTUGUESE 
PIONEERS 



BY 

EDGAR PRESTAGE 

M.A., D.LITT., F.R.H.S., F.R.O.S. 

CAMOEKS PROFESSOR OF PORTUGUESE LANGUAGE, LITERATURE 
AND HISTORY IN THE UNIVERSITY OF LONDON 




A. & C. BLACK LTD 
4, 5 & 6 SO HO SQUARE LONDON W.i 

*933 



THE MACM1LLAN COMPANY, JAW YORK 

Australia and Nero ZtatanJ 
THE oirosD UNIVERSITY WM, 



TD MACMItLAN COMPANY Of CANADA, TOROXTO 



THE OXFORD UNTORSITY WH8, CAPl TPW.V 

Inj and Sumut 

MACMIIUN AND COMMSY UMITID 
BOMBAY CALCUTTA MAMA9 



EDITORS' PREFACE 
TO THE SERIES 

r ]| ^HE Pioneer Histories are intended to provide 
J[ broad surveys of the great migrations of European 
peoples for purposes of trade, conquest and settle- 
m ent into the non-European continents. They aim 
at describing a racial expansion which has created the 
complex world of to-day, so nationalistic in its instincts, 
so internationalised in its relationships. 

International affairs now claim the attention of every 
intelligent citizen, and prpblems of world-wide extent 
affect the security and livelihood of us all. He who 
would grasp their meaning and form sound judgements 
must look into the past for the foundations of the 
present, and, abandoning a local for a universal per- 
spective, must take for his study the history of a world 
invaded by European ideas. It was less so in the days 
before the Great War, Then the emphasis was upon 
Europe itself: upon such questions as that of France's 
eastern frontier inherited from Richelieu and Louis 
XIV, the militarism of Germany derived from 
Frederick the Great, and the Balkan entanglement 
which originated with the medieval migrations of 
Slavonic peoples and with the Turkish conquests of 
the fourteenth century. Now the prospect is wider, for 
these ancient domestic difficulties in modern form 
cannot properly be estimated except by correlation 
with the problems of a Europeanised outer world. 



EDITORS' PREFACE TO THE SERIES 

The Orient is in ferment and Asiatic difficulties com- 
pel the attention of Geneva because long ago the Portu- 
guese, followed by the Dutch and the English, rounded 
the Cape and came to India. For the same reason, 
Africa is no longer an unknown continent but a vast 
area in which civilised enterprise demands direction and 
control Knowledge of the process by which North 
America was discovered and gradually filled with Euro- 
peans is the necessary basis for an understanding of the 
modern reactions upon each other of the new continent 
and the old. In South America the same process is to 
be seen at work, though incomplete while Nature is yet 
unsubdued. Similarly, it may be appreciated how the 
search for an unknown but credited continent lying 
about the South Pole has helped to shift the centre 
of gravity to the Pacific, and has created a white 
Australasia. The present series will show how the per- 
manent factors in these great regions first presented 
themselves to European minds and how achievements 
were then effected which have governed all subsequent 
relationships. 

But if the subject has this interest for students of 
affairs, it has also its appeal to those who dwell 
most on individual character, courage and ingenuity. 
Movements are made by men, and in these stories of 
European expansion are to be met men worth knowing, 
whose deeds carry inspiration for this generation as for 
all others. 

Each volume takes for its subject the history of an 
important movement and, while related to others in 
the series, is thus complete in itself. The authors whose 
co-operation we have been fortunate to secure have all 
had experience of research in the original evidence 
pertaining to their subjects, and in their contributions 



VI 



EDITORS PREFACE TO THE SERIES 

to this series they give the results of that research in 
narratives which should appeal to the general reader. 
Each book is designed to embody the most recent in- 
formation available, and some will be found to deal 
with subjects of which no full treatment has hitherto 

been accessible in English. 

v. T. HARLOW 

J. A. WILLIAMSON 



vn 



INTRODUCTION 

r JJ ^HE geographical position of Portugal invited her 
JL to become a maritime power, but with a popula- 
tion of only one and a. quarter million it could hardly 
have been expected that she would, in the words of 
R. H. Major, discover half the world in the course of 
a century. This wonderful achievement of a small and 
poor nation, though recognised by historians, is less 
widely known owing to lack of a monograph than it 
deserves to be, and even the Portuguese themselves 
have produced no adequate and comprehensive work on 
the subject since that of Joao de Barros in the sixteenth 
century, continued by Diogo do Couto. Most satisfac- 
tory instalments are, however, contained in the Historic 
de Portugal^ edited by Professor D. Peres, now in course 
of publication, and in the three folio volumes of the 
recently issued Historia da Colonisaffto do Brasil, The 
first modern scholarly account of Portuguese Explor- 
ation by sea in any language was that of Major in 
1868, which has long been out of print, and since 
then we have had the publications of Professor Sir 
Raymund Beazley on Prince Henry and studies of 
individual voyages by E. G- Ravenstein, Dr. J. Mees, 
H, Harrisse, Dr. Franz Htimmerich, and Dr. H, P. 
Biggar. Much new material has also been collected 
and printed in Portugal in the last sixty-five years, 
and important inedited texts have been published, 
such as Esmeraldo de situ orbis^ the earliest sailing-guide 

ix 



INTRODUCTION 

to the west and south coasts of Africa; but compara- 
tively little of this material has been made available for 
English readers. The information contained in these 
works often supplements the narratives of the Portu- 
guese official historians and it has been used in the pres- 
ent book, the scope of which is suggested by its title. 

All the recorded voyages of discovery down to the 
end of the fifteenth century are described, but from 
then until the middle of the sixteenth, when the nar- 
rative ends, only the more important. Space would not 
allow minor coastal ventures to be included, nor indeed 
is their number and extent fully known; hundreds of 
Rutters exist in MS. in public and private libraries, in 
Portugal and elsewhere, for the most part unread. 

This book, though much shorter than the first edition 
of Major, contains matter then and much later unknown, 
especially in Chapter XIV. Thanks especially to the re- 
searches of Snr. Joaquim Bensaude and his reprints of 
old and rare nautical guides, it is clear that, in addition 
to the discovery of lands and seas, the Portuguese de- 
veloped for themselves the science which made it pos- 
sible, and that they did not derive their knowledge from 
foreigners, save at the beginning of their maritime 
activities. 

The world-map shows the coasts and principal places 
found or visited by them until the middle of the six- 
teenth century, and it follows modern Portuguese maps 
of the same kind, but with some omissions. For in- 
stance, the discoveries of Magellan in his voyage of cir- 
cumnavigation are not marked, because they were made 
under the Spanish flag. The second map is derived from 
Major and the fourth from one in Ravenstein's work on 
Vasco da Gama, but the outward route as there shown 
has been slightly deflected at Terra Alta to secure 



INTRODUCTION 

exactitude. It should be observed that both the routes 
traced are conjectural, since the authorities give no pre- 
cise information, and it is possible that da Gama took a 
course nearer to the coast of Brazil on his way to the 
East. The third map marks only the points referred to 
in the text and not the many others reconnoitred and 
named by the two navigators. 

My wife, Dr. J. A. Williamson, and Mr. V. T. Harlow 
read the proofs, and I have to thank them for useful 
criticisms and information. Professor E. G. R. Taylor 
and Mr. E. A. Reeves kindly looked through Chapter 
XIV and used their special knowledge of some of the 
matters there treated to make corrections, while Mr. 
E. Heawood has been good enough to identify the 
position of towns in the interior of Africa no longer 
existing. 

Since the remarks on page 156 were written, the 
Portuguese government has resolved to commemorate 
the life-work of Prince Henry by erecting a more im- 
posing monument at or near Cape St. Vincent. This 
decision has been taken in response to suggestions 
which have been frequently made by Portuguese and 
foreigners, and I am very pleased to be able to announce 

that a debt long due is to be paid. 

E. P. 



XI 



CONTENTS 

CHAPTER PAGE 

i. THE ROYAL AND MERCHANT NAVY, AND EARLY 

VOYAGES . ..... 3 

ii. THE EXPEDITION TO CEUTA. THE AIMS OF 

HENRY THE NAVIGATOR . . . 15 

in. MADEIRA, THE CANARIES AND THE AZORES . 35 

iv* FROM BOJADOR TO CAPE VERDE ... 54 

v. VOYAGES FROM 1445 TO 1448 ... 76 

vi. FIRST VOYAGE OF ALVISE DA CADAMOSTO . 94 

vii. SECOND VOYAGE OF CADAMOSTO. DIOGO GOMES 
AND ANTONIO DA NOLI. DISCOVERY OF THE 
CAPE VERDE ISLANDS . . . .122 

vin. LIFE AT CEUTA. THE CONQUEST OF ALCACER. 

HENRY'S DEATH AND CHARACTER . .146 

ix. THE TWENTY YEARS AFTER PRINCE HENRY'S 

DEATH 173 

x. PROGRESS UNDER JOHN II. THE VOYAGES OF 
DIOGO CAo. THE SEARCH FOR PRESTER JOHN. 
THE VOYAGE OF BARTHOLOMEW DIAS . 199 

xr, WESTWARD EXPLORATION .... 227 

xti. THE FIRST VOYAGE OF VASCO DA GAMA . 248 

XIIL NORTH AMERICA, BRAZIL AND THE ORIENT . 270 

xiv. NAVIGATION, CARTOGRAPHY, SHIPS AND SEAMEN 315 

INDEX 337 



XIII 



MAPS 

FACING PAGE 

1. THE WORLD: COASTS AND PLACES DISCOVERED OR 

VISITED BY THE PORTUGUESE ... 3 

2. THE WEST COAST OF AFRICA, ILLUSTRATING THE 

VOYAGES OF HENRY'S SEAMEN . . ,172 

3. THE VOYAGES OF DIOGO CAO AND BARTHOLOMEW 

BIAS ........ 226 

4. THE VOYAGES OF VASCO DA GAMA AND PEDRO 

ALVAREZ CABRAL ..... 266 



xiv 



THE PORTUGUESE PIONEERS 



CHAPTER I 

THE ROYAL AND MERCHANT NAVY, AND 
EARLY VOYAGES 



EW facts are recorded about the early maritime his- 
tory of the kingdom of Portugal, but we know that 
in addition to coastal navigation trade was carried on 
with the North of Europe and with the Mediterranean 
countries, principally from Lisbon and Oporto, which 
were busy commercial centres. Portuguese merchants 
founded a factory at Bruges and frequented Marseilles 
in the twelfth century, while in the thirteenth they were 
established in the French Channel ports. In 1226 more 
than 100 safe-conducts were granted them in England. 1 
To this as to other countries Portugal sent hides, skins, 
dried fruits, oil, cork and wine. The first king, Afonso 
Henriques (i 12885), must have had a primitive navy, 
for tradition says that D. Fuas Roupinho captured a 
fleet of Moorish galleys ofFCape Espichel, seized others 
at Ceuta, and later on in a fight with fifty-four Moorish 
vessels in the Strait of Gibraltar was defeated and 
killed. In 1189 Sancho I contributed forty galleys, 
galliots and other vessels to a crusading fleet for the 
capture of Silves, capital of the Algarve. Sancho II is 
reputed to have established an arsenal, and under Afonso 
III a fleet of large ships of the royal navy, some at least 
of which had been built in .Lisbon, took part in the 

1 For the trade between these two countries *uide Shillington and Chapman, 
The Commercial 'Relations of England and Portugal (London, ^907). 

3 



THE PORTUGUESE PIONEERS 

investment of Faro. Documents of his reign describe 
various kinds of vessels under the names of barks, ships 
and caravels, and the designation naves, meaning vessels 
of a fair tonnage, appears for the first time. 

Under Diniz, the greatest of the medieval kings, the 
fighting and mercantile marine developed considerably 
and vessels were graded downwards in size as naves, 
navios and baixeis\ If areas of 100 tons and upwards 
sailed to Spain, France, Normandy and England; and 
in 1293 this monarch accepted a generous sugges- 
tion of his merchants that it was for 'God's service 
and the good of the land" that they should pay a tax 
on the goods they exported. Diniz had a pine forest 
planted near Leiria to protect the fields from the in- 
vasion of sand from the shore and supply wood for ship- 
building, and he encouraged the latter by conferring 
the privilege of knighthood on officers and even on 
artisans employed on constructions. It is possible, as 
some chroniclers say, that he kept a regular fleet at sea 
to guard the coast against pirates, and we know that he 
was the first to appoint an admiral in the person of 
Nuno Fernandes Cogominho, a fact which shews that 
the navy had already attained a certain importance. 
When Cogominho died, the King applied for a sub- 
stitute from Genoa, then the leading naval power, whose 
subjects were employed by the kings of Castile and 
France to reorganise their navies. His choice fell on 
Manoel Pessanha, or Pezagno, a noble and a man of 
repute in his profession, who in the contract made with 
him on i February 1317 undertook to provide twenty 
sabedores do mar, 1 to command the galleys, which then 
formed the fighting force. The office was expressed to 
be a hereditary one, and with it went the grant of a large 

1 Men with experience of the sea. 
4 



ROYAL AND MERCHANT NAVY, AND EARLY VOYAGES 

tract of land in Lisbon with the privileges of a couto, that 
is exemption from the ordinary jurisdiction of the King's 
officers of justice, and a salary of 3000 Ktras (480,000 
raY). The admiral must have soon earned the confidence 
of the monarch, for in 1319 the town and castle of 
Odemira was bestowed on him. In 1320 he went as 
ambassador to the Pope at Avignon to ask for a subsidy 
for the fleet, and in 1322 he received an increase of 
salary. Four years later Afonso IV sent him on a diplo- 
matic mission to Edward II of England to negotiate a 
marriage between his daughter and the future Edward 
III which did not take place, and in 1337 he com- 
manded the fleet which was defeated by the Castilians 
in a battle off Cape St. Vincent. 

The admiral had brought over to Portugal members 
of leading Genoese families, and the first ocean voyage 
of which we have a record was probably carried out 
under their auspices. It took place in 1341 and its 
destination was the Canaries, which were known to the 
ancients as the- Fortunate Islands and had been visited 
by the Lisbon wanderers, or Maghrurin from Moslem 
Spain, some time before the capture of Lisbon in 1 147. 
In 1270 the Genoese Malocello rediscovered them and 
built a castle there, and the island which bears his 
name appears with the Genoese flag on fourteenth- and 
fifteenth-century maps. It is possible that he was fol- 
lowed by the brothers Vivaldi in 1291, for Petrarch 
refers to an armed Genoese fleet which had reached the 
group a generation before. According to the account 
of the poet Boccaccio, 1 based on letters of Florentine 
merchants at Seville, the expedition of 1341 consisted 
of two vessels supplied by the King of Portugal and 

1 Printed several times and lastly by Signor R. Caddeo in Le navigation 
atlantiehe di Atoise da Cd da Mosto (Milan, 1929). 

5 



THE PORTUGUESE PIONEERS 

a smaller vessel manned by Florentines, Genoese, 
Castilians and other Spaniards. It was led by a Genoese, 
Niccoloso da Recco, and a Florentine, Angiolino de 
Corbizzi, and left Lisbon on i July. The little fleet 
carried horses, arms and warlike engines for storming 
towns and castles; it went in search of the islands, said 
to have been already found, and on the fifth day, with a 
favourable wind, land was seen. 

Recco estimated that the islands were about 900 
miles from the city of Seville. The first island appeared 
to be almost 1 50 miles in circumference. It was rough 
and stony, but full of goats and other animals, and the 
men and women were naked and savage in their habits. 
There the mariners obtained most of the skins that they 
took back, but they dared not penetrate into the in- 
terior. When they reached a larger island, a great multi- 
tude came down to the shore to meet them. Some, 
superior to the rest, were clothed in goats' skins coloured 
yellow and red, and as far as could be seen from a 
distance, the skins were fine and soft and sewn with 
much art. To judge from their actions, these people 
seemed to have a ruler to whom they shewed respect. 
They evinced a desire to trade, and the smallest of the 
vessels drew near to the shore, but as the Europeans did 
not understand a word of the language, they dared not 
disembark. Some of the islanders, however, swam off 
to the ship and were seized and taken back to Europe. 
Rounding the island, the mariners found the northern 
part better cultivated than the southern. The houses 
were built of square stones with wonderful art, and 
covered with large and beautiful pieces of wood. Find- 
ing the doors shut, the mariners broke them open with 
stones, which so enraged the inhabitants that they filled 
the air with their cries. The houses were clean inside, 

6 



ROYAL AND MERCHANT NAVY, AND EARLY VOYAGES 

as if they had been whitewashed. A little temple was 
also found, without any painting or other ornament 
except a stone statue of a man with a ball in his hand, 
who wore an apron of palm leaves. This they seized 
and carried to Lisbon. On leaving this island they saw 
several others in the distance, ten, twenty and forty miles 
off, and went to a third where they found nothing but 
very lofty trees. Another contained many streams and 
excellent water, but as it was deserted they did not pene- 
trate far into it. Next they saw an island with rocky moun- 
tains covered generally by clouds, but in clear weather 
it looked very beautiful and appeared to be inhabited. 
Afterwards they passed over to many other islands, some 
inhabited, others not. Five of the islands were thickly 
inhabited, and the languages of these people were so 
different that the inhabitants of one island did not under- 
stand those of another, and they had no ships or other 
means of intercommunication except by swimming. On 
a further island a marvellous thing appeared, a mountain 
which was thought to be 30,000 feet high, the whole 
of it rocky, with what looked like a white citadel on the 
top. They sailed round this island and, thinking it was 
an enchantment, dared not land. The islands were not 
rich, and the expense of the voyage was scarcely covered 
by what they took home. The four men whom they 
carried away were young and handsome. The island 
where they were captured was called Canary, the most 
populous of all, and the inhabitants were addressed in 
various languages, but understood none of them. They 
were robust, brave and seemed very intelligent; when 
spoken to by signs, they replied in the same manner 
like mutes; they sang sweetly and danced almost in the 
French manner; they were gay and agile, and more 
civilised than many Spaniards. When they came on 

7 



THE PORTUGUESE PIONEERS 

board, they set themselves to eat figs and bread, which 
Tatter they consumed with relish, although they had 
never eaten it before; they refused wine and drank 
only water; they also ate wheat and barley as well as 
cheese and meat, which were abundant and of good 
quality. They gave evidence of great good faith and 
loyalty among themselves, for if one of them received 
anything to eat, before consuming it he divided it into 
equal portions and gave a share to each of his com- 
panions. The married women wore aprons like the men, 
but the maidens went naked and unashamed. 1 

The expedition returned in November, bringing with 
it, in addition to the four natives, a quantity of goat- 
and sheep-skins, tallow, fish oil, red wood and the bark 
of trees for dyeing. 

The account given by Boccaccio, though informing 
on the nature of the islands and their inhabitants, is 
silent on other points, and is evidently only a summary 
of the letters with important omissions. It is unfinished 
in the only MS. known and suggests many questions 
which it does not answer. Nevertheless Professor Sir 
C, R. Beazley is no doubt right in considering this 
military and exploring expedition as official and the 
first sent out by a European state. 

It had no immediate sequel, probably because a 
claimant to the islands arose. By medieval law the Pope 
had the right to dispose of newly found and unoccupied 
lands, and on 15 November 1344 D. Luis de La Cerda, 
Count of Talmond and great-grandson of Afonso X 
of Castile,^received from Pope Clement VI a grant of 
the Canaries under an annual tribute. The Pontiff 

l The islands visited are supposed to have been Fuertevcntura, Grand 
Canary, Ferro, Gomera and Teneriffe, but eighteen in all are mentioned, 
and some writers think that the expedition also went to the Azores 

8 



ROYAL AND MERCHANT NAVY, AND EARLY VOYAGES 

cautiously reserved the rights of third parties, and he 
wrote to various monarchs, including Afonso IV, ask- 
ing them to assist the donee. In his reply the King of 
Portugal stated that his subjects had been the first to 
discover the islands and that he had intended to send 
another expedition to conquer them, but that wars with 
the Moors and Castile had prevented it. Some historians 
interpret this to mean that the first expedition took 
place previous to these wars; if so, the voyage of 1341 
would be the second, Afonso felt himself aggrieved by 
the grant to D. Luis, considering that as he and his 
people had begun the conquest he should have been 
invited to complete it before others. However, he ex- 
pressed his readiness to bow to the Papal decision. 
Notwithstanding this, documents exist to shew that 
King Fernando reasserted the Portuguese claim in 1 370 
by bestowing Lanzarote and Gomera on his admiral 
Langarote de Franca, and as the natives and Castilians 
prevented the latter from taking possession, the King 
in 1376 gave him certain monopolies in Portugal while 
confirming him in the post of Captain of the same 
islands. 1 In the fifteenth century, as we shall see, Prince 
Henry made many attempts to obtain possession of the 
whole group. 

No record exists of ocean voyages during the second 
half of the fourteenth century, except to the Canaries, 
but it would be rash to conclude from the silence of the 
chroniclers that other voyages did not take place. These 
men made it their business to write of wars and other 
events touching kings and great lords, 2 Discovery and 

1 These documents were first printed by Professor Fortunate de Almeida 
(Htstoria de Portugal, vol. iii, p. 759 et scq.). Doubts have been cast upon 
their genuineness by Snr. Alfonso de Dornellas, and the fact that they are 
not registered in the Torre do Tombo needs explanation. 

1 Zurara only recorded the voyages due to the initiative of Prince Henry. 

9 



THE PORTUGUESE PIONEERS 

trading ventures did not interest them, and if under- 
taken by private individuals would not be mentioned. 
But unless the voyages continued, the maritime activity 
displayed early in the fifteenth century and the en- 
thusiasm with which Prince Henry and his followers 
devoted themselves to the work becomes the more 
remarkable. 

Under Afonso IV, Manoel Pessanha was succeeded 
in the command of the galleys, or war fleet, by his sons, 
but the names of two more admirals appear, which 
indicates that the navy had increased. Under Pedro I, 
Lan^arote Pessanha led squadrons to the help of the 
King of Castile against Aragon in 1359 and 1364, and 
naus appear for the first time both in war and commerce ; 
in the reign of Fernando they carry artillery. At the 
battle of Saltes in 1381, the Portuguese fleet consisted 
of twenty-one galleys, one galleot and four naus. The 
expenditure of Fernando on warships and arsenals found 
adverse critics in the Cortes of 1372, but those of 1376 
shewed interest in the development of the mercantile 
marine, and the Letter of Privileges he granted on 
6 June 1377 seemed to have carried out the views then 
expressed. This document and the enactment creating 
a shipping company are matters of such consequence in 
Portuguese maritime history that they deserve to be 
described rather fully. 

Lisbon was then a free port and as many as 400 
or 500 vessels are said to have lain before the city 
at once, while 100 or 150 loaded salt and wine in 
the neighbourhood. These vessels were mostly owned 
by foreigners, and the Portuguese envied the profits 
made on their freights, while the King desired an 
increase of the merchant navy so that he could use it in 
time of war. His ordinance therefore provided that all 

10 



ROYAL AND MERCHANT NAVY, AND EARLY VOYAGES 

who built ships of above 100 tons burden might cut and 
transport to Lisbon from the royal forests both wood 
and masts without payment. They were not to pay 
tithe on the material brought from abroad for con- 
structing and equipping them, and the tithe due from 
those who bought vessels and from foreigners who sold 
them to his subjects was remitted. Moreover he made a 
present to the owners of the ships, on the first voyage 
they undertook with cargo from the realm, of all the dues 
on the merchandise they carried, whether it belonged to 
them or others. In addition, he gave them half the tithe 
on all the cloth and wood brought from Flanders, France 
and elsewhere. Furthermore, he exempted them from 
the obligation to provide horses and do military service 
by sea or land, save with himself, and they were not to 
pay tribute, tallage nor excise, save in the work of the 
walls of the towns where they dwelt. If it happened that 
the ships which they built or bought perished on the 
first voyage, these privileges were to endure for the 
benefit of those who lost them for the three following 
years if they built or bought others, and as many times 
as they built or bought them ; and if two in partnership 
built or bought any ship, both were to have these same 
favours. 

Many took advantage of these privileges, according 
to Fernao Lopes, so that the land was better guarded 
and its natives became richer on account of the many 
cargoes that were carried, and as the King wished to 
increase the number of such ships and prevent ruin 
to their owners by their wreck, he decided upon the 
formation of a company to which all of them were to 
belong. A record was to be kept of all the decked vessels 
in the realm of above fifty tons, with the date on which 
they were built, the price they cost, their value and the 

II 



THE PORTUGUESE PIONEERS 



day when they were launched. All the profit of these 
ships was to belong to their owners and mariners, who 
were to pay two crowns per cent to the purse of the" 
company on all trading profits. The money so raised 
was to constitute an insurance fund for the benefit of 
the members, and the King framed detailed regulations 
to provide for the large variety of claims that might 
arise. 

These regulations exercised an important influence 
on the formation of sea law in the Mediterranean 1 and 
later on, in 1474, similar privileges were granted to 
constructors of ships by Afonso V. 

The navy suffered such losses of material and men 
in the wars of the reign of Fernando that it had to be 
entirely reconstituted by John I, a process which took 
many years. When the Castilian investment of Lisbon 
by land and sea seemed imminent, a squadron of 
twelve galleys and seven ships was hastily equipped in 
the Tagus and sent to Oporto lest it should be en- 
trapped by the superior forces of the enemy, and in 
fact it left the river only just in time. It was reinforced 
by other vessels in the Douro, and seventeen galleys 
and the same number of ships were able to break 
through the Castilian blockade of the Tagus, though 
the enemy were in largely superior strength, and a few 
days later mustered sixty-one ships, sixteen galleys, one 
galleass and various carracks. When the King of Castile 
retired and the Master of Aviz was seeking an alliance 
with England, he equipped a fleet of six galleys and 
eleven ships to assist John of Gaunt in the prosecution 
of his claims to the throne of Castile. The ships were 
of unusual size and build, the galleys large and strong; 

* J. A. Goris, Les Colonies marchandes mtridionales d Anvers de 1488 d 
1507 (Louvain, 1925), p. 179. 



12 



4t ROYAL AND MERCHANT NAVY, AND EARLY VOYAGES 
i uo 

the biggest had 300 rowers and the smallest 180. Later 
on, when the Duke of Lancaster left the Peninsula, he 
was taken to Bayonne.by a Portuguese squadron. The 
truce of 1402 and the peace of 1411 were utilised to 
add considerably to the number of ships of the fighting 
and commercial marine, the latter being rendered neces- 
sary by the increase in trade; Portuguese vessels of 
relatively large tonnage transported wine to England 
and fetched cereals from Italy. Nevertheless when the 
expedition to Ceuta was being discussed, the King 
recognised that his naval resources were quite in- 
adequate to transport the number of troops required 
and he was obliged to hire a large number of foreign 
(vessels, The chronicler Zurara says that fifteen new 
galleys and fifteen foists were built in the Tagus, while 
the fleet organised in the Douro by Prince Henry con- 
sisted of seven galleys and various ships, but in a 
charter of King Duarte to Oporto it is stated that the 
city supplied seventy ships and barcas for the enter- 
prise. The number is credible, for Oporto then en- 
Joyed a primacy over other places in shipbuilding. 
(According to Matthew of Pisa, author of the official 
'chronicle of the expedition in Latin, the fleet for Ceuta 
"numbered sixty-three ships, fifty-nine galleys and one 
hundred and twenty smaller vessels; a large proportion 
of them were hired foreign craft, and they included eight 
naus and two barcas from England and others from Biscay, 
Galicia and Flanders. 1 The hire of these foreign vessels 
was paid in salt, which, as we have seen, was one of the 
principal products of Portugal, and it was bought at a 
low price in Lisbon by the authorities. As in the time 
when Crusading fleets came and aided in the work of 

1 Vide ]. de Salas, Dos Cartas sobre la expedition a Ceuta in Institute, vol. 
bcxxi, p 

13 



THE PORTUGUESE PIONEERS 

reconquest against the Moors, so now contact with 
sailors from the Northern countries and from Galicia 
and Biscay must have taught the Portuguese useful 
lessons in the art of navigation, which with their native 
quickness and power of imitation they would easily 
learn, and it may have given some of them a stimulus 
to undertake voyages previously undreamt of. 

From an inventory of the contents of the ship 
S. Christovam when it returned from Ceuta, we find 
that it had three compasses, which shews that when the 
voyages organised by Prince Henry were about to begin 
his vessels were prepared to sail out of sight of land. 1 
Compasses were in fact used in the Mediterranean at a 
much earlier period. 

1 This and other details relating to naval matters are derived from Os 
Portugueses no mar by Snr. Quirino da Fonseca'(Lisbon, 19x6). The designa- 
tions of the various types of vessels have generally been left in the original 
language, because Portuguese writers differ as to their meaning and a transla- 
tion might therefore be erroneous. 



?4 



CHAPTER II 

THE EXPEDITION TO CEUTA THE AIMS 
OF HENRY THE NAVIGATOR 

IT OHN I had five sons and one daughter by Philippa 
<J) of Lancaster: Duarte, who succeeded him on the 
throne ; Pedro, who acted as Regent during the minority 
of his nephew Afonso V; Henry, called by English 
writers 'the Navigator'; Isabel, who married Philip 
the Good, Duke of Burgundy ; John and Fernando : while 
D. Ines Pires, a noble lady, bore him Afonso, Count 
of Barcellos and Duke of Braganza, and Beatrice, who 
married the Earl of Arundel. Philippa was a God- 
fearing and determined woman, imbued with a high 
sense of duty, who enforced morality at Court and 
brought up her sons in accordance with her high ideals, 
so that they deserved the title, bestowed on them by 
CamSes, of 'great Infants'. She took care that, in addi- 
tion to bodily training, they should receive a clerkly 
education, with the result that they grew up to be men 
of action and students. 

Duarte, though physically robust like his brothers, 
was more highly strung, and when he reached manhood 
he suffered from crises of neurasthenia, which inclined 
him to be melancholy, over-scrupulous in conscience 
end hesitating in action. The superintendence of the 
affairs of justice and finance bestowed on him by his 
father meant a serious burden, but it was bravely borne ; 
'most days', he tells us, *I got up very early and after 

15 



THE PORTUGUESE PIONEERS 



Mass was in the Court until midday, or thereabouts, 
and then came to eat, and afterwards I gave audiences 
for a good space and then retired to my chamber; at 
a o'clock the members of the Council and the Inspec- 
tors of Finance were with me and I worked with them 
until 9 o'clock at night, and when they had left, I was 
with the officers of my household until 1 1 o'clock. I did 
little hunting or shooting and rarely visited the Palace 
of my father, and then only to see what he was doing 
and to report to him.' Yet busy as he was, this Christian 
gentleman managed to snatch time to compose the 
Loyal Counsellor, from which the above extract is taken, 
and an Art of Riding, where he revealed some of the 
eloquence ascribed to him by the chronicler Ruy de 
Pina. 

Pedro, a practical and ambitious man, more English 
than Portuguese in character and appearance, wrote a 
philosophical treatise, the Book of Virtuous Well-doing^ 
and spent some years in foreign travel (1425-29), in 
the course of which he fought against the Turks in the 
service of the Emperor Sigismund, who gave him the 
Mark of Treviso as a reward. 1 He visited England and, 
like his father and brother Henry, obtained the Order 
of the Garter. Thence he passed to Flanders and Italy, 
and at Venice the Doge presented him with a copy of 
Marco Polo's Travels and a Mappa Mundi which has 
not been identified. The nature of the gift indicates that 
the Doge was aware that Pedro shared Henry's interests. 
Fernando was a good Latin scholar and 'so versed in 
sacred scripture that it seemed to be rather the gift of 
God than force of study'; in disposition he resembled 

1 The documents are in J. P. Oliveira Martins, OsJMos & >. 

^r n t d 5" Englisl1 Ver8i n ^ J- J- Abra1 * * W. E 
nolds called The Golden Age of Prince Henry the Navigator (London, 

16 



THE EXPEDITION TO CEUTA 

Duarte, since he refused a Cardinal's hat from fear that 
the dignity would be beyond his powers. In virtue he 
followed Nuno Alvares Pereira, the Holy Constable, for 
he had the same cult of virginity, the same horror of 
impurity, which he considered the worst of sins, and 
the same love of the poor. 

Of Henry, the greatest of the Infants in worldly 
achievement, we possess character sketches by men who 
knew him, and two contemporary portraits, which will 
be cited and described in a later chapter. In the mean- 
time we will let his actions speak for him. 

When Portugal entered upon her career of expansion 
across the sea, the three elder sons of John I had already 
come of age, for Duarte was born in 1391, Pedro in 
1392 and Henry in 1394. 

The King himself by inclination and profession was 
an ardent Crusader, and on the termination of the war 
against his fellow-Christians of Castile he desired to 
make amends for any offences he had committed against 
God and, as his chronicler 1 says, felt that he could best 
do penance by 'washing his hands in Infidel blood'. The 
Queen had the same hatred of Mohammedanism, whose 
sectaries had overrun the Peninsula, held it for centuries 
and continued to infest the neighbouring seas. For 
defence and counter-attack Christianity had perforce to 
use the weapon of the Crusade, and hence, according 
to Zurara, the expedition against Ceuta, which was in 
contemplation as early as 1409 or 14 io. 2 It happened 

1 The following account of the expedition to Ceuta is based on Zurara's 
Cronica de Ceuta (ed. Esteves Pereira, Lisbon, 1915). 

1 Cronica de Ceuta, cap. 62. In 1410 John I seems to have sent his confessor 
to inform Pope John XXIII of the project, and in 1413 he obtained from 
the Pope the appointment of the Queen's confessor as Bishop of Morocco, 
as though in anticipation of the conquest he had planned. Vide Snr. L. 
Teixeira de Sampayo, Arquivo de Historia, vol. i (Coimbra, 1923). Barros 

17 2 



THE 'PORTUGUESE PIONEERS 

also that the King wished to knight his sons and he 
had planned to do so during a festival year of jousts 
and tourneys, for which invitations were to be issued 
throughout Christendom. But the youths considered 
that they ought only to receive the honour of chivalry 
after some great toil; fStes and games, they said, were 
very well for the sons of merchants, whose reputation 
rested on the money they spent. The Treasurer, John 
Afonso, understood their ambition and suggested an 
attack on Ceuta, the door by which the Moors had 
entered Spain in 711, but the King doubted its feasi- 
bility; and if the city were taken, could it be held ? 
Moreover there were other difficulties, for its capture 
would strengthen the rival power of Castile by facili- 
tating the conquest of the Mohammedan kingdom of 
Granada, because with Ceuta in Christian hands, in- 
vading armies from Africa could no longer cross into 
the Peninsula; again, the Castilians might attack Portu- 
gal while she was engaged in war in Morocco. John's 
display of prudence disappointed his sons, for their 
minds were set on the enterprise; but he finally resolved 
to attempt it, and with a view to reconnoitre the city, he 
sent ambassadors to Sicily to demand the hand of the 
Queen for his son Pedro, knowing that the request 
would be refused. On the way there and back they were 
to stop at Ceuta and examine its position and approaches. 
On their return they presented their report, and one of 
them, the Prior of the Hospitallers, sought to illustrate 
it. No map was available and he could not draw one, so 
he asked for some bags of sand, a skein, six litres of 
beans and a porringer, and with these he designed the 
city, its hills, walls, houses and castle. 

(Ada, dec. I, bk. i, cap. 2) says that John had nourished the idea for a lone 
time. 

18 



THE EXPEDITION TO CEUTA 

The explanations given satisfied John, but before 
taking a final decision he required the consent of the 
Queen and the Constable. The Queen approved, and 
only demurred when her husband announced his inten- 
tion to accompany his sons. The Constable said : 'I think 
this affair was not discovered by you or any other 
mortal, but was revealed by God*. John did not consult 
the Cortes, for success depended on secrecy, and as he 
could not impose a new tax without the consent of the 
people, he obtained money for the enterprise by seizing 
all the copper and silver he could find, and by importing 
some from abroad and having it coined at the mint. 
There was no difficulty in providing soldiers, for the 
peace had left thousands idle; they would not return to 
their former avocations and were a grave problem for 
the national economy and a danger to order. The older 
men had welcomed the end of the war, the younger 
disliked it and regretted the loss of the chance to 
plunder the Castilian border. The expedition to Ceuta 
gave scope to the latter, and to supplement their num- 
bers, criminals were pardoned if they shared in the 
expedition or if they remained in garrison after the 
capture of the city. 1 

In addition to the reasons for the enterprise alleged 
by Zurara and those just mentioned, it is probable that 
others existed; the repression of piracy in the Strait 
was one of them, and as it interested foreigners as well 
as Portuguese, the former lent their aid to it. Moreover 
Ceuta was a commercial emporium and the termination 
of various caravan routes, including that to the region 

1 Ordenafoens do Rey Affonso V> bk. v, tit. 83 and 84. The first volume of 
the Documentos das ChanceUarias Reals anteriores a 1531 relatives a Marrocos 
(ed. Pedro de Azevedo, Coimbra, 1915) contains 136 pardons and 144 
commutations of penalty, mostly for services in Ceuta. After 1431 many 
convicts were sent to Ceuta. 

19 



THE PORTUGUESE PIONEERS 



of gold in the interior. If, however, it was hoped to tap 
this trade, the hope proved vain, for the capture of the 
city led to its diversion to other ports, 1 

It was not until 1415 that the King submitted the 
matter to his Council. After the Constable and Duarte 
had spoken in favour of it, the views of the other 
councillors were invited; none of them opposed, and 
John Gomes da Silva, an ardent spirit, stood up and 
said: 'I do not know that I can say anything but go 
ahead, grey horses' an allusion to the grey heads of 
the King and his councillors. 

The preparations for the expedition, which were on 
a large scale, alarmed the other Peninsular states, which 
sent envoys to try and discover its destination. One 
of them, Ruy Diaz de Vega, envoy of Fernando I of 
Aragon, wrote a detailed report of the naval and military 
forces, the stockade and wooden castle of five stories 
on wheels, and came to the conclusion that the objective 
was either Ceuta or Gibraltar, the conquest of which 
was a dream of John I. 

To hide from the Moors what was intended, the 
King sent a challenge to the Duke of Holland, whose 
subjects had committed robberies on Portuguese ship- 
ping, instructing the envoy to inform the Duke privately 
of the real destiny of the fleet. Ships were hired from 
abroad and others collected or built at home to carry 
the expeditionary force, which consisted of the King's 
vassals and contingents furnished by the nobles and 
towns. Such was the general enthusiasm and eagerness 

1 In his able and in some ways original chapter in the new illustrated 
Htstona de Portugal, vol. iii, Dr. Jaime CortesSo observes that the Paris atlas 
of Abraham Cresques (1375-77) has inscriptions referring- to the voyage of 
Jaime Ferrer in 1346 in search of the Rio do Ouro and to the kingdom of 
Mandinga and the gold in those parts. This atlas may be presumed to have 
been known to and to have influenced the Portuguese at this time. 

20 



THE EXPEDITION TO CEUTA 

to serve, that a man of ninety presented himself with 
his squires and retainers, and Zurara remarks: 'I know 
not if I speak like a pagan, but surely I think that the 
bones of the dead desired to be clothed with flesh, where 
they lay spent in their sepulchres, that they might 
accompany their sons and relations in that enterprise'. 
'The fervour', he adds, 'was so great that the people 
worked at nothing else, some in cleaning their arms, 
others in making biscuits and salting meat, others in 
repairing ships and arranging crews, so that nothing 
should be wanting in time of need. But this traffic was 
chiefly in the cities of Lisbon and Oporto, for hardly 
anyone there was exempt from this labour, and when 
the weather was calm the noise could easily be heard 
in most of the places in the Tagus valley. And indeed 
it was a fair thing to see, for all along the riverside lay 
ships, great and small, on which by day and night 
caulkers and others were working to repair their de- 
fects ; near them lay many slaughtered oxen and cows, 
and many men were engaged in skinning and cutting 
up and salting them, while others packed them in 
barrels and boats for the voyage. The fishermen and 
their wives were salting various kinds of fish, and every 
free bit of ground was covered with them. The officials 
of the mint never had their hammers quiet by day or 
night, so that if a man shouted among the furnaces, he 
could hardly be understood; and the coopers had no 
small toil in making and repairing barrels for the wine 
and meat and other goods, and the tailors and cloth- 
workers in preparing cloth and making liveries of 
various kinds, each as his master directed, and the car- 
penters in packing bombards and guns and preparing 
all other sorts of artillery, which were many and great, 
and the ropemakers in making many kinds of cords 

21 



THE PORTUGUESE PIONEERS 

for the ships.' Old worked as well as young, and many 
were the conjectures as to the purpose of the expedition ; 
the only man who suggested its real destination was a 
Jew, servant of Queen Philippa, called Juda Negro, a 
great troubadour; but men thought he did not know it 
so much by any certain sign he saw, as by astrology, in 
which he dabbled much. 1 

In the summer, when the fleet was ready, the Queen, 
then aged fifty-three, fell sick of the plague; and feeling 
that her end was near, she sent for her sons, and de- 
livered to them swords and fragments of the true Cross, 
enjoining them to preserve their faith and to fulfil the 
duties of their rank. 

It was very sadly that the youths promised to obey 
their mother's behests and received her blessing, and 
the King was so grieved by the mortal illness of his 
wife, with whom he had lived for twenty-seven years 
with much love and concord, that he could neither eat 
nor sleep. 

In a subsequent chapter 2 Zurara describes the 
Queen's end. After she had addressed her sons and 
they were all beside her bed, the wind began to rise, 
in such wise that those who were in the house felt it, 
and the Queen asked what wind it was that blew so, 
and the Infants said it was the north wind. *I think', 
said she, 'that this would be good for your voyage', to 
which the Infants replied that it was the best that could 
be. 'How strange a thing', said she, 'that I who so much 
desired to see the day of your departure and thought 
to take such pleasure in it, for the will I have to witness 
your knighthood, as befits your royal state, should now 
be the cause of hindrance and, moreover, that I should 
be certain that I cannot see it here/ 

1 Cronica de Ceuta, cap. 30. /#</ cap. 4^ 

22 



THE EXPEDITION TO CEXJTA 

Duarte demurred to this, but the Queen insisted in 
her belief that it was not God's will, and, like one who had 
no more care for temporal things, began to say: 'I shall 
mount aloft and from aloft shall see you, and my illness 
will not hinder your journey, for you will start on the 
Feast of St. James'. 

Her end was what all might envy. She had received 
the Sacraments of Holy Communion and Extreme 
Unction on a Wednesday, and on the next day, shortly 
after twelve, she sent for the priests and directed them 
to begin the office for the dead. 'This she heard with a 
mind so clear, that when any mistake was made, she 
corrected it, and as the last prayer was being finished, 
she straightened out her body and members, raised her 
eyes to Heaven and without any toil or suffering, gave 
her soul into the hands of Him who created her, a smile 
appearing on her mouth as though she disdained the 
life of this world, for according to the mind of some 
doctors, he who is to live well, must enter the world 
weeping and leave it smiling/ 1 

The fleet left the Tagus on St. James's Day, 25 July 
1415, as the Queen had foretold. It consisted of more 
than 200 vessels, great and small, carrying 45,000 2 
men; some foreign nobles and adventurers were of 
the company, including Oswald von Wolkenstein, the 
Tyrolese poet, and one Mundy, an Englishman, who 
brought four ships with him. When passing Cape St. 
Vincent, sails were lowered in homage to the saint 
whose body had lain there before it was taken to Lisbon, 
and the fleet came to anchor in Lagos Bay, famous in 
English as well as Portuguese naval history. Here the 
King called on his chaplain, Frei John Xira, to set forth 

1 Cronica de Ceuta, cap. 45. 
2 Ruy Diaz de Vega estimated the number at 19,000. 



THE PORTUGUESE PIONEERS 



the objects of the expedition. The sermon, which 
Zurara purports to transcribe, was naturally a crusading 
one, its conclusion being that he who held himself to be 
a Catholic and true Christian and did not prepare to 
defend the Faith with all his strength was not a true 
knight, or member of Jesus Christ, had no part with 
Him and was worse than an infidel. 

On 1 2 August the light craft arrived off the African 
coast, but a strong wind carried the heavier up the 
Mediterranean. This was a piece of good fortune for 
the Christians, because, fearing an attack, the Moors 
had hurried up reinforcements from the interior, and 
dismissed them when they saw the Portuguese fleet 
pass through the Strait apparently bound for some 
other destination. Ceuta consisted of two parts, a citadel 
and a port town, which covered the neck of a long 
peninsula running out some three miles from the main- 
land; and a point at the junction of these had been 
selected as the landing-place. 1 On the eve of the Feast 
of the Assumption, the whole armada was brought into 
the roads. Henry anchored off the lower town with the 
vessels from Oporto, while the King, notwithstanding 
a wound in the leg, had himself rowed through the fleet 
and gave orders for the assault. During the night the 
governor of Ceuta ordered lights to be displayed in the 
windows of every house, to shew that the city was well 
peopled and to frighten the enemy; to this the Portu- 
guese responded by illuminating their ships. At day- 
break on 15 August the Christians disembarked, and 
after a fierce tussle on the beach, drove the Moors back 
through the Almina gate and entered the city with 
them. Thereupon Henry, according to Zurara, took the 

* Ediisi gives a description of the city before its conquest by the Portuguese 
and refers to its fisheries and the coral found in the adjacent seas. 

2 4 



THE EXPEDITION TO CEUTA 

lead and, after consultation with his brother Duarte, 
ordered bodies of troops to operate in different parts of 
the city and occupy the heights outside, while he him- 
self with another force attacked the enemy in the main 
street leading to the Citadel. He had made good progress 
when the Moors rallied and falling upon his men put 
them to flight. The latter then went off to plunder or 
relieve their thirst, which was very great owing to the 
heat and the salt fish they had eaten on board, and 
Henry found himself with only seventeen knights and 
personal attendants, and was in grave danger. For hours 
he had to maintain a struggle against enormous odds, in 
which, though wounded, he shewed his exceptional 
courage and bodily strength under the fierce rays of the 
African sun. A report of his death was actually conveyed 
to the King, who replied that it did not greatly matter, 
since he had ended as a soldier should. 

After receiving some small reinforcements, Henry 
continued the fight with success, but as it was impossible 
to penetrate into the Citadel, the gates of which were 
closed and walls well garrisoned, he was persuaded to 
retire and join Duarte, who had taken possession of the 
Mosque, which afterwards became the Cathedral. 

The day was now far spent and Ceuta almost entirely 
in the hands of the Christians, and a council was held to 
decide whether an attempt should be made to storm the 
Citadel, with the result that it was agreed to postpone 
it until the next day. In the meantime the Moors had 
recognised their defeat and evacuated both city and 
Citadel, and a Portuguese detachment sent to guard the 
approach to the latter noticed a flock of sparrows quietly 
resting there, from which they judged it to be empty of 
human beings. On reaching the gates these were opened 
by the only two men who remained inside, and at night- 



THE PORTUGUESE PIONEERS 

fall the banner of St. Vincent, which was that of Lisbon, 
flew from the highest tower. Though the struggle had 
been severe, the Portuguese loss in killed was only eight, 
which is attributed to the fact that most of them wore 
armour. The King offered to knight Henry first for his 
prowess, but he declined to receive the honour before 
his eldest brother; and the Infants obtained knighthood 
in order of birth with the swords the Queen had given 
them. 

The ease with which the 'Key of the Mediterranean', 
as Zurara calls it, was taken may well have seemed 
providential to the captors, and the future of Portugal 
perhaps hung upon the issue of the attempt. Had it 
failed, the expedition might have been the last instead 
of merely the first step in the foundation of an overseas 
empire. As an English historian says, the fall of Ceuta 
struck a resounding blow through Europe. It drove 
the Moors from their most threatening stronghold, 
smoothed the way for African trade, and led to the 
immense developments of the most glorious age of 
Portugal's colonial history. 1 

It was obvious to all that the defence of the town 
would be a far more difficult and dangerous affair than 
its capture, and no one was ambitious to undertake the 
charge. While the King and his advisers were debating 
the matter, the young nobles amused themselves by a 
game of choca* and when D. Pedro de Menezes won, 
he lifted up his olive-wood stick and the group sur- 
rounding him shouted ako. On hearing that the Council 

1 Wylie, Reign of Henry the Fifth, vol. i, p, 451. The fifth centenary of the 
capture of Ceuta was celebrated in Portugal in 1915 and the Academy of 
Sciences published seven volumes of documents and tracts rckting to 
Morocco. 

Choca is a ball which has given its name to the game, played with a stout 

stick called aleo. ' 

26 



THE EXPEDITION TO CEUTA 

had come to no decision, he went to John I and offered 
to hold Ceuta with the stick he had been playing with. 
The King took it from him and handed it back, saying 
that with it he appointed him captain of the town and 
would not demand the usual oath because he trusted 
him entirely; further than this he made him Count of 
Viana and gave him a garrison of 2500 men. The word 
aleo became from that day the war-cry and the family 
device of Pedro and his descendants ; it was engraved 
on the swords of the men and the jewels of the women 
and sculptured on their houses, and it figures on Pedro's 
tomb in the Gra9a church at Santarem. 

As Henry was a crusader by disposition, and his 
office of Governor of the Order of Christ laid an obliga- 
tion on him to make war on the infidel, the capture of 
Ceuta apparently facilitated his task by providing an 
open door into the enemy's territory. But if Barros is 
well informed, he thought otherwise. After that ex- 
pedition the conquest of Morocco had become a state 
enterprise in which he could only serve as a mandatory 
of the King and government, and he preferred an under- 
taking of his own and in more remote parts, in which 
the expense would be his and not controlled by others, 
and where the merit and glory would belong to himself 
and his Order. Even if this be true, however, it did not 
prevent him from overlooking affairs in Ceuta, defend- 
ing it and pursuing the crusade in North Africa when 
the opportunity occurred, as we shall see later on. 1 

We do not know exactly when he began his maritime 
explorations, though Barros says that, even before 
1415, he sent out ships down the west coast of Africa 
and, Cadamosto adds, to raid the towns of Safi and 
Messa. Faria e Sousa dates the first voyage from 1412, 

1 Though the town had its captain, Zurara calls Henry governor. 

27 



THE PORTUGUESE PIONEERS 

and declares that in this year the Portuguese reached 
Cape Bojador, sixty leagues beyond Cape Non; but he 
wrote in the seventeenth century, too long after the 
event to carry weight. According to Diogo Gomes, D. 
John de Castro made his attempt on the Canaries in 
1415 and not in 1425, and as he reported the existence 
of a strong current between the islands, Henry sent out 
Gonfalo Velho in 1416 to find out the reason of it, the 
first scientific expedition of this kind recorded. He adds 
that this man afterwards reached a spot called Terra 
Alta, but better evidence shews that Cape Bojador was 
not passed until much later. From Zurara we learn that 
from the time Ceuta was taken, Henry always kept 
vessels at sea to guard the coast against Moorish pirates, 
His continuous exploring activities began only after 
that event and probably after he had raised the siege 
set to the town by the Moors in 1418-19, and failed 
to realise his ambition to capture Gibraltar. To the 
knowledge he had derived at home and from books 
about the lands to the South, he added information 
gained at Ceuta from men who had actually visited 
them. Moors told him of the journeys of traders from 
the Mediterranean coast to Timbuktu and Cantor on 
the Gambia, and of the regions as far as Guinea, and he 
compared and checked the notices he received from one 
traveller and another with those of the captives his men 
brought home, and so was able to guide his mariners 
to the Senegal years afterwards. In order to supervise 
the preparation of the expeditions which he had resolved 
to despatch regularly on a preconceived plan, he aban- 
doned the Court after his return to Portugal in 1418 
and fixed his abode in or near Lagos in the Algarve, of 
which province John I made him governor in 1419; 
and later on he built a small town called Villa do Infante 

28 



THE EXPEDITION TO CEUTA 

at ape St. Vincent, The geographical position of these 
places, and the fact that ships both Portuguese and 
foreign put in there to refit, made them ideal bases of 
operations. There, immersed in the study of mathe- 
matics and cosmography, he passed the years, varied by 
occasional visits to Court and to his properties in other 
parts of the kingdom to receive his rents and administer 
justice; there he selected captains and pilots, generally 
from members of his own household, caused them to be 
instructed, and with each fresh discovery had his charts 
brought up to date. This last task was performed by 
Master Jacome, an expert cartographer and maker of 
nautical instruments, whom he persuaded to come from 
Majorca and enter his service in exchange for a high 
salary. Jacome has been identified with Jahuda Cresques, 
son of Abraham Cresques, author of the Catalan map 
of I375- 1 Though Henry was a healthy man, we find 
him in later years surrounded by doctors, mostly Jews, 
and as medicine and astrology then went together, it is 
probable, as Dr. Cortezao thinks, that these men helped 
him in his studies of nautical astronomy. 

According to Zurara, the first object he set before 
himself was the finding of Guinea, but this does not 
mean that he then or afterwards looked no further, for 
in view of the policy of secrecy adopted by the Portu- 
guese in respect of their discoveries, no arguments can 
fairly be based on the silence of the chroniclers. Five 
reasons impelled him thereto: he desired (i) to obtain 
knowledge of the lands beyond the Canaries and 
Bojador, his sailors having already passed Cape Non, 
the fabled limit of previous navigation ; (2) to establish 
trading relations with any Christians who might dwell 
there; (3) to ascertain the bounds of Mohammedan 

1 Goncalo de Reparaz, Mestre Jacome de Malhorca (Coimbra, 1930) passim. 

29 



THE PORTUGUESE PIONEERS 

dominion ; (4) to find a Christian king who would help 
him to fight the infidel; and (5) to spread the Christian 
faith. His ends were thus scientific, commercial, political 
and religious. Zurara puts the scientific first, but ex- 
pressly says that even there he was moved by the service 
of God and the King, and there can be little doubt that 
in Henry's mind the advance of knowledge was primarily 
a means to an end. He sought to stay the advance of 
Islam and to promote the prosperity of his country by 
obtaining for it the trade in gold dust and other African 
products which was then in Arab hands. By the 'dis- 
covery* of Guinea he hoped to divert the trade routes 
from the Mediterranean ports to those of West Africa, 
and commercial considerations dictated his colonisation 
of the Atlantic islands, as is shewn by his efforts to 
develop the industries of fishing, dyeing and sugar- 
making. In his offensive against Islam he followed the 
plan, formulated from the time of the Crusades by men 
like William Adam, Raymond Lull and Marino Sanuto, 
and pursued, though without result, by popes and kings, 
of attacking on the flank and in the rear as well as on 
the front ; and his object may even have extended in later 
life to control of the Indian trade, the main source of 
the enemy's wealth. 1 

At that time Mohammedan dominion was interposed 
between Europe and the East and had cut the com- 
munications which previously existed between them. 
Its growing power represented a menace to civilisation 
which may be compared to that of Bolshevism at the 
present day, though the danger then came from armed 
force, and now from the infiltration of ideas subversive 
of religion and morality, which are even more difficult 
to combat. But though Henry was mainly bent on 

1 Sir C. R. Beazley, Dawn of Modem Geography, vol. in, p. 310 ft seq. 

30 



THE EXPEDITION TO CEUTA 

crusading and the development of commerce, he 
possessed the curiosity of the man of science and 
sought opportunities to satisfy it. We have instances of 
this in the expedition of Gon^alo Velho, already men- 
tioned, and in the case of the Azores, the discovery of 
which Diogo Gomes attributes to the Infant's desire 'to 
know the distant parts of the Western Ocean, if islands 
or land existed beyond those described by Ptolemy'. 
Even there, however, his ends were utilitarians the 
route through the Canaries was the shortest to the coast 
of West Africa and afterwards it was regularly used, 
while discovery to the West was part of the policy of 
expansion and might open a route to the Indies. 

The inception of the maritime expeditions is de- 
scribed by Duarte Pacheco in Esmeraldo and by Barros 
in Asia. One night the Infant lay sleepless in bed, 
pondering over his schemes, and at last, as if roused by 
a sudden fury, he leapt up, called his servants and 
ordered some ships to. be made ready at once for a 
voyage southward along the coast of Morocco ; all were 
astonished and attributed this outburst to a divine 
revelation. Goes, a humanist of the Renaissance, pos- 
sessed of a critical mind and positive outlook, refers 
to the story but rejects it. According to him, Henry 
desired to find India; the accounts of Herodotus and 
other ancient writers convinced him that it had been 
reached by the circumnavigation of Africa, .and this 
'certainty', together with the information he had ob- 
tained from natives well versed in African affairs, led 
him to order the rediscovery of the forgotten route. 
But, revelation or no revelation, there is little doubt that 
the East was Henry's ultimate aim, though Goes does 
not seek to explain his motives. And the attempt was no 
novelty; even apart from the classical voyages, at least 



THE PORTUGUESE PIONEERS 

one expedition had gone out in the Middle Ages to find 
the sea way, that of Doria and Vivaldi in 1291. The 
enterprise may have appeared to him all the more 
feasible, because he could have had no accurate idea of 
the distance, since according to some cartographers 
Africa was a peninsula about half its real size, that is, 
the southern coast of Guinea continued directly to the 
Indian Ocean. Even in the Laurentian Portolan of 
1351, the best medieval map of the continent, the 
latter is shewn with a short leg. 1 Henry had studied the 
geographical works cited by Zurara, and from them and 
from Marco Polo must have drawn inspiration. The 
abundance and precision of the data he had collected 
account for the persistence he shewed and for his 
refusal to be daunted by failures, hostile criticism and 
heavy expense. He knew that caravans crossing the 
Sahara had long traded with the Guinea coast, so that 
if his ships could reach it they would be well on the 
way to the East and might hope to find Prester John 
and secure his assistance. Contact between the Holy 
See and Ethiopia had been established early in the 
fourteenth century, and plans had been formulated to 
make its ruler the ally of Christendom against Islam ; 
envoys of Prester John appeared in the Peninsula in 
1427 and 1450, and one was in Lisbon in 1452. The 
presence of this man suggests that Henry had previously 
opened up relations with Ethiopia, and he may have 
done so through those envoys or through the repre- 
sentatives of the same country at the Council of Ferrara. 
Moreover, we learn from Zurara that inhabitants of the 
greater and lesser India, that is Indians proper and 

1 Even this leg was perhaps added at a later date. A copy of this map 
may have been brought back by the Infant Pedro and been the one which, 
according to Antonio Galv2o, helped Henry in his discoveries. 

32 



THE EXPEDITION TO CEUTA 

Ethiopians, visited Portugal and received the Prince's 
hospitality, and that Indians travelled in his ships. 1 

As we have said, Henry had also commercial aims, 
and, hearing that the King of Tunis obtained a large 
quantity of gold from somewhere, he despatched secret 
agents to that realm to make enquiry, and learnt that 
the King, in exchange for merchandise sent to the 
south across the Atlas mountains, received slaves and 
gold; therefore he resolved to do by sea what the King 
had for many years done by land ! a 

At the time Henry entered upon his work of explora- 
tion the greater part of Africa was a terra incognita to 
Christian Europe. Overland travellers, mostly Moslems, 
had penetrated to the coast as far south as the Senegal, 
but if a line were drawn from the mouth of that river to 
the lower waters of the Niger and then across to the 
east coast a little below Abyssinia, the whole of the 
continent to the south was entirely unknown, save a 
narrow strip of the eastern coast down to Sofala, fre- 
quented by Arab traders. In less than a century from 
their start the Portuguese mapped the coastline, dotting 
it with names, many of which are still in use, and 
explored part of the interior. This great contribution 
to geographical science was one of the achievements 
of Henry the Navigator and his successors. 

Before entering upon a relation of the maritime 
expeditions made under his auspices it is natural to ask 
ourselves how far their results may have been anticipated, 
and the reply is that the undoubted pre-Henrician 
voyages down the west coast of Africa were very few. 

1 Sir C. R. Beazley, Dawn of Modern Geography, vol. iiij M. C. de la 
Ronci&ce, La Dfrowverte dt PAfrique au moyen dge, vol. i, p. 6^ et seq.; 
Chronicle of Guinea (Hakluyt Society), cap. 2. 

1 Dr. J. Mlinzer, Itinerarium in Institute, vol. Ixxxiii, p 141 (Coimbra, 
1932). 

33 3 



THE .PORTUGUESE PIONEERS 

The Phoenicians, who were sent out by Pharaoh Necho, 
may have rounded the Cape of Good Hope, but Hanno 
probably got no farther than Sierra Leone; in medieval 
times Ibn Fatima seems to have reached Cape Branco, 
but the Genoese Malocello did not pass beyond the 
Canaries, while Doria and Vivaldi disappeared, so that 
it is impossible to fix their furthest south. The voyages 
of the men of Dieppe in the fourteenth century are not 
proven, owing perhaps to the destruction of records, 
the existing evidence being of too late a date. 1 

1 The question is discussed by Sir C. R. Beazley, Chronicle of Guinea, 
vol. ii, p. 64. 



34 



CHAPTER I I I 

MADEIRA, THE CANARIES AND THE AZORES 

THE identity of the discoverer and the date of the 
discovery of Madeira and Porto Santo are un- 
known. All we can say is that the islands appear in the 
fourteenth century in that imaginary travel-book, the 
Conoscimiento de todos los ReynosJ- and on Catalan and 
Italian maps with the same or approximately the same 
names, and that they were probably found by Portu- 
guese or Spaniards when on their way to or from the 
Canaries. Possibly the discoverer was a seaman called 
Machico, 2 who lived in the time of King Fernando and 
was 'master of his boat', since a place in Madeira bears 
this designation. A romantic story exists and has given 
rise to a small literature, that in the reign of Edward III 
of England a pair of runaway lovers from Bristol, 
Robert Machin 8 and Ana de Arfet, were driven to 
Madeira by a storm. According to one version they died 
there, while their companions succeeded in reaching the 
coast of Africa and were seized and imprisoned by the 
Moors. There a fellow-captive, a pilot named Morales, 
learnt their story, and through his agency it reached 
Prince Henry, who accordingly sent out the expedition 
to which we shall refer presently. 

1 There is an English version by Sir Clements Markham (London, 1912: 
Hakluyt Society). 

2 Brito Rebello, Lvoro da Marinharia (Lisbon, 1903), p. xxiv. 

8 There seems to have been an Italian corsair named Machin in the time 
of Prince Henry who settled in Portugal, 

35 



THE PORTUGUESE PIONEERS 

According to another version, Machin survived to 
reach Spain and related the discovery he had made. If 
it really took place, the credit for it would be due to the 
English and not the Portuguese, and Major, in his life 
of Prince Henry, not only accepted the story but plumed 
himself on having established its veracity. There is, 
however, no mention of Machin in Zurara and Barros, 
our chief authorities for the early voyages. The Viscount 
de Santarem did not believe in his existence, and after 
the exhaustive examination and destructive criticism of 
the legend by Alvaro Rodrigues de Azevedo in his 
edition of the Saudades da Terra of the island his- 
torian Caspar Fructuoso * its supporters must be few. 
Curiously enough, it derives from Portuguese writers of 
the sixteenth century, who, however, disagree with each 
other as to the details. Antonio Galvao, 2 the most 
important of these authors, gives the following account 
in his Discoveries of the World* \ 'They also say about 
this time [1344] the island of Madeira which is in 
32 degrees was discovered by an Englishman named 
Machim, who on the way from England to Spain with 
a woman he had stolen, was driven by a tempest to that 
island and they anchored in the haven called Monchico 
after him'. The story grew with each retailer and was 
finally embellished in the seventeenth century by the 
polygraph D. Francisco Manuel de Mello, who worked 
it up into a novelette and included it in his Epanaphoras. 
It was then translated into French and English, and in 
this and the following centuries the romance passed 
through various editions.* 

1 (Funchal, 1873), p. 340 et seq. 2 Misnamed in England Galvano, 
8 Vide p. 58. Hakluyt's old version was reprinted with the Portuguese text 

in 1862 by Vice-Admiral Bethunc (Hakluyt Society). 
4 They are mentioned in the bibliography to my Z>. Francisco Manuel de 

Mello (Coimbra, 1914), p. 588. Mello gives a detailed account of Zarco's 

36 



MADEIRA, THE CANARIES AND THE AZORES 

Though Zurara is usually minute, he does not eluci- 
date the mystery; the title of chapter 83 of the Chronicle 
of Guinea, describing the expedition of Zarco, is 'Of how 
the island of Madeira was peopled', and though dis- 
covery may be implied, it is not stated. He tells us that 
when Henry returned to Portugal after raising the siege 
of Ceuta in 1418, two young squires of his, John 
Gon?alves Zarco and Tristan Vaz Teixeira, asked for a 
chance to distinguish themselves, and the Prince bade 
them prepare a ship and go against the Moors, directing 
them to sail in search of the land of Guinea. They 
obeyed and, guided by God, reached Porto Santo in 
spite of contrary winds, and after examining the island 
and finding it fit for colonisation, they took back the 
news to their master. Encouraged by him, they returned 
with Bartholomew Perestrello, a nobleman of the house- 
hold of the Infant John, and carried with them animals 
to stock the island, among them being a pregnant 
she-rabbit, which littered on board. When landed, the 
progeny interbred, multiplied quickly and ate up all 
that was sown. As the conies were too numerous to be 
destroyed, the two captains abandoned Porto Santo in 
the following year and passed over to Madeira, twelve 
leagues off, and there Zarco and Teixeira remained, 
while Perestrello went home. The larger island proved 
to have good air, plenty of water and a rich soil, so that 
abundant crops rewarded the labour bestowed on it. 
Henry supplied colonists and priests and divided, the 
island into two captaincies, giving one to Zarco and the 
other to Teixeira; 1 and Perestrello, who subsequently 

voyages, which would seem to be a pure invention of his own, unless he 
drew on sources now unknown to us. 

1 Alguns Documentos da Torre do Tombo, etc. (Lisbon, 1892), p. 7. The 
grants to Zarco and Teixeira speak of them only as colonisers, which appears 
to settle the question. 

37 



THE PORTUGUESE PIONEERS 

returned to Porto Santo, obtained its captaincy from the 
same source. 1 

Diogo Gomes, 2 a contemporary of Zurara, considers 
Zarco and Teixeira merely as colonisers. According to 
him, a caravel in the time of Henry, driven out of its 
course by a storm, came upon Porto Santo, which con- 
tained many trees that emitted a beautiful red resin 
called dragon's blood; and shortly after the Infant sent 
another to explore the island, and from there the 
mariners passed over to Madeira. Writing more than 
half a century later, Barros 3 speaks of Zarco and 
Teixeira as discoverers. He says that they asked Henry 
for a ship in which they could sail along the coast of 
Barbary and Guinea, which he gave them, knowing 
from Ptolemy and native information that it ran down 
to the equator. They encountered so severe a storm and 
such contrary winds on their way to the African coast, 
that they gave up all hope of life, for the vessel was 
small and the heavy seas almost devoured it. Finally, 
however, the storm ceased, and they discovered the 
island of Porto Santo, a name they gave because it 
proved a refuge after their terrible experiences. He re- 
marks that they were glad to find that it had no fierce 
people like those of the Canaries, that is, it was un- 
inhabited; and both Zurara and Gomes imply the same 
of Madeira by saying that birds could at first be captured 
in the hand. None of the three writers records the exist- 
ence of any sign that men had formerly lived there. 
Barros is more explicit than Zurara or Gomes as to the 
way in which Madeira was found* He says that after 
their return to Porto Santo with settlers, Zarco and 

1 Alguns Document^ p. 10. 

2 In De insults primo inventis in mart oceano occidentis* The origin of this 
work is described in cap. 7, where the voyages of Gomes re dealt with. 

3 Asia, dec. I, bk. i, cap. 2. 

38 



MADEIRA, THE CANARIES AND THE 

Teixeira noticed a dark shadow on the horizon, which 
appeared to be either a heavy cloud, or land, and that 
they then built two boats and passed over to the island, 
which took its name from the quantity of trees upon 
it. 1 They landed at separate points, and when Barros 
wrote, their descendants were still disputing over the 
achievements of the explorers on this occasion, but not 
over their military merits, for both men had distin- 
guished themselves at the capture of Ceuta and in the 
attack on Tangier and had gained the honour of knight- 
hood. Zurara and Barros agree that the work of settle- 
ment began in 1420, and the former declares that at 
the time he was writing the Chronicle of Guinea^ Madeira 
had 150 heads of families. When Cadamosto visited the 
island in 1455 he found four settlements and 800 in- 
habitants. There is an old tradition that Henry instituted 
family registers for the settlers. 

According to Gomes and Barros, the latter set fire 
to the dead leaves, undergrowth and trees in the district 
of Funchal to clear the soil for sowing and ascertain its 
value, but could not extinguish the blaze, which con- 
tinued to smoulder for seven or nine years. We need 
not take these figures literally, but from the account of 
Gomes the calamity must have been a very severe one, 
for on his visit thirty years later he heard that the 
colonists had only saved their lives by taking refuge in 
the streams and that in some places the fire was still 
burning underground. Barros admits that the first 
settlers profited by the clearance, but states that in his 
day there was a lack of wood. Zurara, 2 however, ex- 
pressly says that wood was sent to Portugal in such 
quantities as to change the style of building and allow 
of taller houses being erected, and Cadamosto declares 

1 Asia, dec. I, bk. i, cap. 3. * Chronicle of Guinea, cap. 2. 

39 



THE PORTUGUESE PIONEERS 

that the country was full of furniture made from 
Madeira wood, 1 so that the conflagration must have 
been merely local. In addition, the island sent home 
wheat, wax, honey and sugar. By Henry's order the 
cane was brought from Sicily and throve so well that 
in some years, as Barros says, one-fifth of the sugar 
produced over 60,000 arrobas for the Order of Christ, 
from only three leagues of ground, though he does not 
specify the dates. 

In 1452 Henry entered into a contract with his 
squire Diogo de Teive for the building of a water-mill 
for the manufacture of cane sugar, on condition of 
receiving a third of the produce; and after the middle 
of the century sugar began to be exported to foreign 
countries. It first appears in the Bristol Customs Ac- 
counts in 1456 and thenceforward in yearly increasing 
quantities, 2 and Madeira sugar competed so success- 
fully with that produced in Sicily and the Levant as to 
greatly reduce the price of the latter. It was taken by 
Portuguese vessels as far as Pera, and later purchased 
from the growers by Genoese and Jewish merchants 
and sent to Flanders, which was the chief market. The 
Cortes of 1472-73 and 1481 complained that its ex- 
port had fallen into the hands of foreigners, who in 
1480 loaded twenty large vessels and forty or fifty 
smaller ones with the article, and they asked the King 
to prohibit aliens from residing in the island and to 
provide that the sugar should be taken first to Lisbon 
and pay duties there. In 1496 the price dropped con- 
siderably, and in 1498 King Manoel forbade more than 
120,000 arrobas to be exported; of this amount he 

1 Laprima navigaztone, cap. 4, and cf. Sauda&s da Terra (ed. Rodrigues 
de Azevedo), p. 460. 

2 Shfflington and Chapman, Commercial Relations of England and 
Portugal, p. 108. 

40 



MADEIRA, THE CANARIES AND THE AZORES 

destined 40,000 for Flanders, 15,000 for Venice; the 
same quantity for Chios and Constantinople, 13,000 
for Genoa and 7000 for England. 1 The sugar industry, 
which gave the Atlantic islands their first importance, 
spread from Madeira to the Azores and Cape Verde 
and finally to Brazil, where it became the chief economic 
factor until the discovery of diamonds and gold at the 
end of the seventeenth century. 

The Malvoisie grape was introduced from Crete, and 
when Cadamosto visited the island he described the 
vines as the finest sight in the world, and even then 
much of the wine made from them, including the famous 
Malmsey, went abroad. In the seventeenth century, 
owing to Brazilian competition, sugar growing ceased 
to be profitable, the canes were uprooted and replaced 
by vineyards, and the export of wine became henceforth 
the principal source of revenue. 2 

In Porto Santo and Deserta, the third island of the 
group, the chief industries, started by Perestrello, were 
the raising of cattle and the export of dragon's blood. 
By Charters of 26 September 1433 King Duarte gave 
the islands to Henry for his life, and he conferred the 
spiritual jurisdiction on the Order of Christ. 8 On Henry's 
death in 1460 the temporalities passed to the crown, 
and Afonso V bestowed them on his brother Fernando. 

The Madeira and Azores groups have always been 
considered as part of the mother country and have not 
been included in the colonies. 

1 Gama Barros, Historia da administraga'o publica em Portugal, vol. iv, 
cap. 5. In his edition of the Saudades da Terra, Rodriguez de Azevedo 
has an important note on the cultivation, manufacture and sale of Madeira 
sugar. See also J. L. de Azevedo, Efocas de Portugal economico (Lisbon, 1929), 
cap. 5. 

2 A. Z. Simon, The Bolton Letters (London, 1928), p. 15. 
8 Alguns Documentos, p. a. 

41 



THE PORTUGUESE PIONEERS 

Reference has been made in a previous chapter to the 
Papal grant of the Canaries to D. Luis de la Cerda in 
1 344. His endeavour to profit by it came to nothing, 1 
and though the islands were afterwards raided from 
time to time by mariners from Spanish ports, no attempt 
was made at occupation. But in 1402 and the following 
years Jean de Bettencourt, Lord of Grainville, accom- 
panied by Gadifer de la Salle and a band of Normans, 
and aided by men and munitions obtained from Castile, 
made an invasion, built a fort in Lanzarote, and planted 
colonies there and in Ferro and Fuerteventura. 2 After 
having done homage to the King of Castile for the 
islands, Bettencourt finally returned to France in 1406, 
and appointed a nephew, Maciot, as governor in his 
place, and the latter sold his uncle's rights to the Conde 
de Niebla, a Castilian noble, who in 1430 transferred the 
ownership to Guillen de las Casas, another Castilian, 3 so 
that when Prince Henry began to send out expeditions 
down the African coast, he found the representatives of 
a foreign power established on his flank. In pursuit of his 
policy of expansion he attempted to take possession of the 
islands to prevent the Castilians from using them as a 
base from which to reach Guinea, and the same reasons 
perhaps dictated the occupation of Madeira. If he 
needed an excuse for his procedure, he had it in the 
Moorish attack on Ceuta in 1418-19, which had been 
instigated by Castile. In the long and complicated 

1 Agustin Millares, Historia general de las Islas Canarias (Las Palmas, 
1881), p. 16. 

2 The Canarian or Book of the Conquest and Conversion of the Canarians> 
translated by R. H. Major (London, 1872: Hakluyt Society); cf. Zurara, 
Chronicle of Guinea, caps. 79-82. 

8 Agustin MiUares, Historia general de las Islas Canarias (Las Palmas, 
1893), vol. iii. Barros, Asia, dec. I, bk. i, cap. 12. M. C. de la Ronciere, 
La Decowuerte de FAfrique au moyen dge, vol. ii. Sir C. R. Beazky, Dawn of 
Modern Geography, vol. iii, p. 445. 

42 



MADEIRA, THE CANARIES AND THE AZORES 

struggle that ensued between the two nations we have 
the first of the contests for possessions beyond the 
sea that have marked the succeeding centuries. Every 
weapon, naval, military and diplomatic, was employed, 
and the story deserves study in much greater detail than 
it has yet received and than is possible until researches 
have been made in the Spanish archives. 1 

In 1425 Henry sent out D, Fernando de Castro with 
2500 men and 120 horses to conquer Grand Canary, 
but the resistance of the natives and lack of provisions 
led to the abandonment of the campaign, which was 
very expensive. According to books of account which 
Barros saw, the transport alone cost 39,000 gold dobras? 
In the following year John II of Castile despatched an 
embassy to Portugal under D. Afonso de Carthagena, 
Bishop of Burgos, to assert his claims to the archipelago 
and prevent Henry from renewing his attempts, but 
the latter sent out another expedition in 1427 under 
Antonio Gonfalves da Camara which had no more 
success than the first. He then endeavoured to induce 
the King of Castile to relinquish his sovereign rights, 
and, meeting with a refusal, he determined to secure an 
overriding grant from Pope Eugenius IV, and in 1435 
he succeeded in this on the ground that the islands had 
no owner. King John protested strongly against the 
action of the Pope, and by his orders the Bishop raised 
the question of ownership at the Council of Basel. After 

1 Agustin Millares, op. cit. vol. i, p. 33 (ed. 1893), mentions a document 
at Simancas drawn up by Juan Ifiiguez de Atabe, ambassador of John II 
in Lisbon, dealing with the struggle over the islands and the secret history 
of the negotiations. 

2 Asia, dec. I, bk. i, cap. 12. Diogo Gomes dates the expedition 1415, 
evidently an error of transcription, and says that afterwards Henry sent out 
one Alvaro Dornellas who overran part of Gomera. The gold dobra, or 
doubloon, a Spanish coin, was worth 12,800 rets. 

43 



THE PORTUGUESE PIONEERS 

enumerating the islands, the Bishop asserted that 
Lanzarote, and, he believed, Fuerteventura, had been 
occupied in the time of Henry III of Castile by his 
order, and that he intended afterwards to occupy all of 
them. The King gave those islands to Bettencourt and 
other persons authorised by him, and his successor 
afterwards went to take possession of the islands still 
unoccupied, which were granted to them with a reserva- 
tion of the supreme dominion to Castile, All the islands 
had not yet been occupied from lack of opportunity, but 
the kings of Castile had always used their best en- 
deavours to get the inhabitants of the first two islands 
to accept and keep the Catholic Faith, and subjects .of 
theirs had been confirmed as bishops there, including 
the existing prelate. In 1425 the Portuguese under D. 
Fernando de Castro equipped an expedition and en- 
deavoured without success to seize, not the islands of 
Lanzarote and Fuerteventura already in the possession 
of the King of Castile and of various persons in his 
name, but others, and chiefly Grand Canary. Later 
on Prince Henry requested the King to grant him 
the conquest of those islands, but the latter refused, 
because the concession would be contrary to the honour 
of the crown and would mean a dismemberment After 
all this the King of Portugal applied to the Pope to 
bestow the conquest upon him. 

According to the Bishop the arguments alleged by 
the Portuguese in favour of their claims were as follows : 
unoccupied islands belonged to the first who took them, 1 
and as the Canaries had not been occupied by any Catholic 
prince, the King of Portugal injured no one by taking 

1 This implies that infidels had no rights, a doctrine advanced in an 
English trial of a West Indian dispute as late as 1647, according to Dr. J. A. 
Williamson. 

44 



MADEIRA, THE CANARIES AND THE AZORES 

possession of them. There were only two ways of acquiring 
islands, occupation and neighbourhood; as regards occu- 
pation, all had been said already, and as to neighbour- 
hood, the islands were nearer to Cape St. Vincent, the 
extreme point of Portugal, than to any Castilian territory. 
The inhabitants of the islands had not yet received 
the Catholic faith, and therefore the Portuguese, who 
wished to teach it them, ought not to be hindered in 
their purpose. 

The Bishop next set out the grounds on which the 
King of Castile based his rights; the Canaries belonged 
to Castile for the same reason as Tingitania, of which 
they formed a part; it was the nearest land to them, and 
as Tingitania was a former possession of the Gothic 
kings, and the kings of Castile were their direct descend- 
ants, they had a better claim than Portugal, a kingdom 
which arose from a grant to Count Henry of Burgundy. 
The Portuguese kings did not descend immediately by 
hereditary succession from the Goths, and they only 
existed in consequence of a donation from the kings 
of Castile; Prince Henry recognised the rights of 
Castile when he asked to be allowed to conquer the 
islands. 1 

It was probably in consequence of this exposition and 
perhaps of other solicitations that in 1436 Eugenius IV 
sent a bull to King Duarte of Portugal, setting out that 
he had granted him the conquest of the Canaries because 
the King had declared that no Christian prince had a 
right to them, but afterwards John II of Castile com- 
plained of the grant on the ground that the conquest 
belonged to him. The Pope had replied that he had no 

1 Eugenio do Canto, Allegafoes feitas contra os Portugueses no ConciJio de 
BasileaporD. Affonso, Bispo de Burgos sobra a conquista das Canarias (Lisbon, 
1912), and Alguns Documentor, p. 3. 

45 



THE PORTUGUESE PIONEERS 

intention of infringing his rights and that the concession 
had been made on the express understanding that the 
islands belonged to no one. In conclusion Eugenius 
admonished Duarte to examine carefully the Apostolic 
letters and not attempt anything to the prejudice of the 
King of Castile. 1 Henry was a dutiful son of Holy Church, 
nevertheless he made an attack on Tangier in 1437, 
probably to anticipate Castile by securing this im- 
portant base and to assert the rights of Portugal to 
the conquest of North- West Africa; and in 1440 he 
despatched a fleet to the Canaries under D. Diogo 
da Silva, which was equipped partly by means of loans 
from the Jewish communities of fifteen towns and 
partly at the cost of the royal treasury. 2 No record 
exists of the achievements of this expedition, but 
another proceeded to the islands in 1445, received 
the submission of the chiefs in Gomera, and raided 
Palma; the incursions against the friendly natives of the 
former island brought down a severe rebuke from 
Henry. In the following year he is said to have made a 
further attempt at conquest, and he obtained from the 
Regent Pedro a decree forbidding ships to sail to the 
islands without his leave, and in 1448 he bought 
Lanzarote from Maciot de Bettencourt, 3 who had got 
it back from Guillen de las Casas. Henry then bestowed 
the captaincy of this island on his secretary Antao 
Gongalves, who took possession of it, but was driven out 
by the warlike natives. Not content with thus asserting 
and exercising rights of ownership, Henry allowed and 
doubtless encouraged the attacks made in 14^0, 1451 

1 Bull of Eugenius IV Ludum cum of 31 July 1436 in Alguns Documentor, 
p. 3. 

2 Sousa Viterbo, Uma expediffa portuguesa ds Cananas em 1440 in Archivo 
historico portugues, vol. i, p. 340. 8 Alguns Documentos, pp. 9 and 12, 

4 6 



MADEIRA, THE CANARIES AND THE AZORES 

and 1453 upon the islands which did not recognise 
Portuguese authority. At the same time he made a 
further attempt to secure Papal recognition of his claims, 
and by the bull of 8 January 1454 Nicholas V conceded 
to Afonso V and Henry their conquests in Africa with 
'the islands in the seas adjacent to them from Capes 
Non and Bojador and as far as Guinea*. 

The rivalry between the two powers led to inter- 
mittent hostilities at sea, even though they were at 
peace on land. In 1440 D. Alvaro de Castro was de- 
spatched with a fleet against Castilian pirates, and the 
Portuguese stoutly defended their monopoly of trade 
on the African coast. In 1452 some caravels of Seville 
returning from Guinea were met by Palenfo, a cele- 
brated sea-rover, who captured one and imprisoned the 
crew, while a Genoese merchant found on board had 
his hands cut off. King John II addressed two letters 
to Afonso V on 25 May 1452 and 10 April 1454, 
describing and protesting against these actions, for 
which he held Henry responsible. But with the acces- 
sion of Henry IV in the following year, relations be- 
tween the two powers became more friendly, and the 
latter actually granted the Canaries to D. Martinho de 
Ataide, a Portuguese nobleman who had brought to 
Castile his wife Joanna, daughter of King Duarte. In 
this very year the islands were visited and described by 
Cadamosto, as we shall see later. Subsequently, as a 
result of sales, they passed to the Infant Fernando, 
brother of Afonso V, who sent D. Diogo da Silva to 
occupy them, but a Castilian knight, D. Fernan Peraza, 
put in a prior claim as son-in-law of Guillen de las Casas ; 
and as the transaction had been confirmed by the King 
of Castile and for other reasons, the Infant desisted 
from the rights he had acquired. During the war of 

47 



THE PORTUGUESE PIONEERS 

succession with Castile a Portuguese fleet in 1477 
landed on Grand Canary a force which was massacred 
by the Castilians, and the long struggle for dominion 
and the monopoly of trade in those parts of the world 
was finally settled in 1479 by the treaties of Alcafovas 
and Toledo, which allotted the Canaries to Castile, and 
North- West Africa, Guinea and the islands in the ocean 
to the south to Portugal. The Castilians were then free 
to pursue their conquest of such of the Canaries as still 
remained under native rulers and had resisted foreign 
attacks on their independence; Grand Canary was 
already in their hands, and in 1490 they conquered 
Palma and in 1493 Teneriffe. 

The Archipelago of the Azores owes its present name 
to the quantity of hawks which were found there, but it 
was also for centuries known as the Flemish Islands. 
St. Michael, the nearest to Europe, is distant some 800 
miles from the coast of Portugal, and how men with 
their small boats reached and returned from them is an 
unsolved problem; that they did so is a proof of wonder- 
ful courage and skill in navigation. The Central and 
Eastern groups appear, though out of their right 
position, in the Laurentian Portolan of 1351 and the 
Catalan map of 1 375 by Gabriel Valsecca. In the former 
they are designated thus : the islands of St. Mary and 
St. Michael as Insule de Cabrera, the islands of St. 
George, Fayal and Pico as Insule de Ventura sive de 
Columbis and Terceira is called Insule de Brazil^ from 
the red dyewood found there, which also gave its 
present name to the South American country, first 
called Land of the Holy Cross. The delineation of the 
Azores on these maps constitutes, in the opinion of 
Major, a proof that they were discovered by Portuguese 

48 



MADEIRA, THE CANARIES AND THE AZORES 

vessels under Genoese pilots at the beginning of the 
fourteenth century, but the deduction cannot be re- 
garded as more than a hypothesis, 1 which the Portu- 
guese themselves are now abandoning 2 in favour of 
another that a caravel sighted them by chance on the 
return from one of the attempts to double Cape Bojador. 
The easiest way for sailing ships to return from West 
Africa to Portugal was to take advantage of the trade 
wind which carried them round in the direction of the 
Azores. 

A few writers, including M. de la Roncifcre, have 
suggested that the expedition of 1341 reached the 
Azores, on the ground that the descriptions of some of 
the islands contained in Boccaccio's account apply to 
them rather than to the Canaries; but the great distance 
between the two groups renders it unlikely. Neither 
Zurara nor any of the early historians give information 
about the discovery, and it could not be expected from 
Zurara, because he did not attempt to describe voyages 
previous to those due to the initiative of Prince Henry. 
In any case, priority in discovery is difficult to establish 
and it has small importance; colonisation is the essential 
thing, and, as in the case of Madeira, incidental evidence 
shews that none took place before Henry's time. 

The earliest date actually recorded for the Portuguese 
re-discovery is found in the Catalan map of 1439 by 
Gabriel Valsecca, which bears the legend, 'these islands 
were found by Diogo de Sevill pilot of the King of 
Portugal in the year MCCCCXXXVII' ; some read the year 
as 1427 and others as 1432, and think that Sevill accom- 

1 Jules Mces, Les Afores d*aprls les Portulans in Boletim da Sociedade de 
Geographia. de Lisboa, vol. xvii, p. 455, a careful cartographical study. 

2 Pedro de Azevedo, As ilhas perdidas in Archivo historico portugues, 
vol. ii, p. 54. 

49 4 



THE PORTUGUESE PIONEERS 

panied the expedition of Gon^alo Velho Cabral now to 
be mentioned. 1 

According to Father Antonio Cordeiro, 2 a native of 
Terceira, the discovery or re-discovery took place in 
143 1, when Henry ordered Gongalo Velho, commander 
of Almourol in the Order of Christ, to sail westward in 
search of islands which he believed must exist there; 
Cabral only found the Formigas rocks, and as they were 
unsuitable for colonisation and enveloped in boiling 
surge, he returned. In the following year Henry sent 
him out again, and on 15 August, the Feast of the 
Assumption, he fell in with an island which he named 
St. Mary; and afterwards the Infant caused cattle to be 
placed there and gave Cabral the captaincy. Some years 
later, a slave, who had escaped from his owner to the 
hills, caught sight of a much larger island and went 
back to his master to announce the fact, in the hope of 
obtaining pardon. Henry was informed, and on con- 
sulting maps in his possession, he saw the island marked 
on them, and he commissioned Gonfalo Velho to go 
out once more, with the result that in 1444 he reached 
St. Michael, One of the maps has been supposed to be 
that which Henry's brother Pedro obtained in Venice 
during his travels. Some unknown mariners sighted 
the third island (hence its name of Terceira) by chance 
between 1445 anc * I 45> on a day dedicated to our Lord, 
and it received at first the designation of the Island of 
Jesus Christ and had for arms the crucifix, 

The details of Cordeiro 's narrative must be received 
with caution, because, though a native of the islands, he 
wrote long after the events he describes; he was born 

1 Jules Mees prefers the date 1437, Histoirc de la d&wvfrte des lies 
Afores (Ghent, 1901), p. 71. 
a Historia Insulana, bk. iv, cap, i. 

5 



MADEIRA, THE CANARIES AND THE AZORES 

as late as 1641, and Father Caspar Fructuoso, from 
whom he copied extensively, only in 15*22. Diogo 
Gomes, Henry's servant, tells a different story. Wishing 
to know the distant regions of the Western ocean, if 
perchance there were islands or terra firma beyond those 
in the accounts of Ptolemy, the Infant sent out caravels, 
in a year not specified, to seek them. About 300 leagues 
west of Finisterre they found five islands, afterwards 
known as St. Mary, St. Michael, Terceira, Fayal and 
Pico, and returned with the news to Henry, who then 
despatched Gonfalo Velho to put pigs, cows and sheep 
on each of them, and Velho lived in St. Mary for some 
years. If Gomes is rightly reported by Valentin Fer- 
nandes, who wrote down his narrative, all five islands 
were found in one voyage, though he did not know by 
whom, which is improbable, and Velho played a sub- 
ordinate part. Amid such varying relations it seems 
hopeless to arrive at the truth, and we can only be sure 
of one fact, that seven of the islands had been discovered 
before 1439, because by charter of 2 July of that year 
Afonso V gave Henry leave to settle them, and it is 
therein declared that he had already landed sheep 
there. 1 

The remaining islands, those of the Western group, 
Corvo and Flores, also marked on the old maps, were 
re-found subsequently ; the Portuguese gave new names 
to seven of the nine islands, but in the case of Corvo 
and St. George they adopted those of the Catalans. 

The date when colonisation actually began is not 
found in Gomes, but Zurara, who should have known 
better than anyone, fixes it as late as 1445. According to 
him, Henry sent out Gon^alo Velho in that year to 
people two islands situated at 1 70 leagues from Madeira. 

1 Alguns Documentos, p, 6. 

51 



THE PORTUGUESE PIONEERS 

The Infant Pedro began to colonise the island of St. 
Michael, but his death followed, and it was left to 
Henry to carry on the work; strangely enough, this is 
all that the Chronicle of Guinea tells us about the subject. 1 
In 1450 Henry gave the captaincy of Terceira to a 
Flemish servant of his, Jacques de Bruges, who had 
come to him and said that it was lying waste and 
had asked leave to colonise it. He had probably been 
\fecommended by the Prince's sister the Duchess of 
Burgundy, and being a rich man, he was ready to 
undertake the cost of the venture, so that his request 
was readily granted. 

' His example had followers, and the other four islands 
oif the central group, none of them far from Terceira, 
were soon colonised. Vasco Gil Sodr led his family 
and servants to Graciosa; Willem van der Haegen,arich 
Fleming, at his own expense, took out a large body of 
settlers to St. George; and Josse de Hurtere, another 
Fleming, obtained the captaincy of Fayal and subse- 
quently of Pico also. These donations account for the 
title of 'Flemish islands'. 

The remote islands of Corvo and Flores were natur- 
ally the last to be re-discovered, but in 1453 the Duke 
of Braganza received a grant of the first, while the 
'second was conceded to a Lisbon lady, D. Maria de 
Vilhena. The date of their settlement has not been 
handed down . 

The Azores are in the latitude of Lisbon and New 
York, and when the Portuguese reached Corvo they 
were well on the way to North America. Old histories 
relate that they found there a statue of a man on horse- 
back pointing with his right hand to the West, and that 
a rock beneath it bore an inscription in an unknown 

1 Cap. 83. 



MADEIRA, THE CANARIES AND THE AZORES 

language. The last detail is evidently an addition to the 
legend, the only foundation for which appears to be 
that a promontory running far into the sea presents 
something like the form of a man with his hand stretched 
out towards the West; though one writer has connected 
it with the stone idol brought back from the Canaries 
in 1341. Only a century ago the unlettered inhabitants 
of Corvo are said to have believed and asserted that the 
shape of the promontory was designed by Providence 
to indicate the existence of a New World, and that 
Columbus understood and acted on the suggestion; the 
discovery of America was therefore due to their island 1 * 

1 Major, The Life of Prince Henry of Portugal, p. 245. 



S3 



CHAPTER IV 
FROM BOJADOR TO CAPE VERDE 

"TT7VROM 142 1, if not earlier, Henry despatched ships 
Jf^ every year to explore the coast of West Africa be- 
yond Cape Non, of which it was said, *he who passes 
Cape Non will return or not', indicating that they held 
it to be the limit of possible navigation. These ex- 
peditions were not led by ordinary men, but by picked 
retainers of his who had achieved distinction in some 
field of action. Nevertheless Cape Bojador, 1 the bulging 
Cape, proved an impassable barrier, and the mariners, 
who coasted by day and anchored at night, 2 contented 
themselves with raiding the coast of Barbary and the 
kingdom of Granada for booty to pay their expenses. 
None of them added to knowledge, as the Prince wished. 
We can well believe, as Zurara declares, that their 
failure was not due to cowardice or lack of good-will. 
Their past records and the devotion which Henry in- 
spired in his servitors would render it unlikely; but one 
and all felt that terror of the Sea of Darkness which 
had been spread by the Arab geographers, and of the 
torrid zone, to which if white men penetrated, they 
would become black. Why, they are reported to have 
said to themselves, should we attempt to pass the limits 
of navigation which our fathers set up, and what profit 

1 A letter of Afonso V, of 22 October 1443, states that Henry sent out ships 
quite fourteen times until he got news of the land beyond the Cape, and 
that he had a. chart of it made (Alguns Documfnfos, p. 8). 

a According to Cadamosto. 

54 



FROM BOJADOR TO CAPE VERDE 

can result to the Infant by the loss of our souls and 
bodies, for by going farther we shall become wilful 
murderers of ourselves? Even apart from the dangers 
to be encountered, they were convinced that neither 
military honour nor commercial profit was to be gained 
by the experiment, because they knew from report that 
the sandy, uninhabited waste of the Sahara lay beyond; 
that the sea off the Cape was so shallow that, even a 
league from land, it was only a fathom deep ; and that 
even if a ship passed it, the currents would not allow it 
to return. Some doubt has been cast in modern times 
on these obstacles, which are recorded by Zurara, but 
Duarte Pacheco, writing in 1505, confirms their exist- 
ence. He declares that the Cape is so low and sandy as 
to be hardly visible at a short distance, and that it is 
very dangerous because of a reef that stretches out for 
over four or five leagues, on which some ships had 
been lost through carelessness. He mentions the lack of 
depth and the currents, and advises mariners to keep 
seven leagues off the land. 1 

Notwithstanding the disappointment and useless ex- 
pense which repeated failures had caused him, Henry 
did not upbraid his captains, but listened graciously to 
the story of their voyages, and even rewarded them, as 
he was wont to do with those who served him well, 
while he encouraged them to further efforts by the 
promise of greater gifts if they succeeded. Finally in 
1433 h e sent out one f his squires, Gil Eannes, in 
a barca, in the hope that he would do better; but over- 
come by the same fear this man got no farther than the 
Canaries. In the following year, still undaunted, Henry 
charged him to make one more attempt and strain every 
effort to pass the Cape, even if he did nothing else. The 

1 Esmeraldo, cap. 22. 

55 



THE PORTUGUESE PIONEERS 

Prince animated him with the hope of reward and 
chid him for his belief in hypothetical dangers. 'Even 
if these things that are reported had any authority, 
however small, I would not blame you, but you tell me 
only the opinions of four mariners who come from the 
Flanders trade, or from some other ports that are very 
commonly sailed to, and who know nothing of the 
needle or sailing chart.' 1 

This mild admonishment, and the reverence the 
master inspired, put the squire on his mettle, and Henry 
experienced the truth of the saying that everything 
comes to him who knows how to wait; for Gil Eannes 
doubled the Cape and, though he found neither people 
nor signs of habitation, he brought back some plants 
called in Portugal St. Mary's roses, as tokens of the 
land he had visited. Though the feat seems to us a small 
one, it has been described by an old historian a as equal 
to one of the labours of Hercules, and by a modern 
writer as greater than the doubling of the Cape of Good 
Hope, because it destroyed the fixed belief of mariners 
that the ocean beyond Bojador was unnavigable. That 
Henry realised the importance of the event is shewn 
by his prompt resolve to follow it up, for Gil Eannes 
had hardly finished the recital of the voyage when he 
ordered a barinel to be got ready for Afonso Gonfalves 
Baldaya, his cupbearer, and sent Gil Eannes out again 
in his company. 8 The way was now clear, and the two 
men passed fifty leagues 4 beyond the Cape to a little 
bay they named Angra dos Ruivos. They found the 
shores bereft of dwellings, but saw footmarks of men 

1 Chronicle of Guinea, cap. 9. 

a Barros. He dates the passage of the Cape in 1433, and says that to mark 
his satisfaction at the exploit King Duarte made the grant of Madeira to 
Henry. 

8 In 1434, according to Barros. * Barros says thirty. 

56 



FROM BOJADOR TO CAPE VERDE 

and camels. When they returned with this information, 
Henry felt that the inhabited region could not be far 
off, or else that traders from the interior must have 
passed that way to some seaport; and he decided that 
Baldaya should go out again to try to secure an inter- 
preter from among those people to give news of the 
country. The latter therefore left Portugal in I436, 1 
and, going seventy leagues farther on and 120 beyond 
Bojador, found an arm of the sea which he took to be 
a river; it ran eight leagues into the land, and there he 
anchored. He had brought two horses with him, and 
on them he mounted two noble youths of seventeen 
years of age, named Hector Homen and Diogo Lopes 
d'Almeida, and ordered them to go up-country and look 
for villages or travellers. To spare them and their horses 
fatigue, he gave them no arms but lances and swords, 
for if they were in risk of capture, their best remedy 
would be their horses' feet. The youths followed the 
course of the water for seven leagues and came upon 
a band of nineteen men, armed with assegais, whom they 
promptly attacked. Notwithstanding the disparity of 
numbers, the natives would not meet them on the level 
ground, but retired to some rocks, where the combat 
continued. One of the youths here received a wound in 
the foot, but they both kept on fighting until the sun 
began to set, and then returned to their ship, which 
they reached about dawn. Early next day Baldaya and 
some of his men went off in a boat and rowed to the 
place where the fight had taken place, sending the two 
young men on horseback along the bank; but the 
natives had departed, leaving behind them their poor 
belongings, which Baldaya took on board and went back 
to his ship. Near the entrance to the supposed river 

1 In 1435, according to Barros. 

57 



THE PORTUGUESE PIONEERS 

he found a large number of sea wolves, and after killing 
as many as he could and loading the vessel with their 
skins, he named the bay Angra dos Cavallos and sailed 
fifty leagues farther south past the Rio do Ouro, 1 in the 
hope of taking some captives. He came to a point with 
a large rock which looked like a ship and called it the 
Port of the Galley. It was but a little short of Cape 
Branco. There he landed and found nothing but some 
nets, which were sufficiently strange to be described by 
Zurara in his chronicle; the thread came from the bark 
of a tree and was so suitable for its purpose that, without 
any tanning or admixture of flax, it could be woven into 
nets, or any kind of cordage. After this Baldaya went 
back to Portugal without the captives he had sought, 
or any certain knowledge as to whether the natives he 
had met with were Moors or heathens, or as to what 
their manner of life was. 

No progress was made in discovery during the next 
four years, that is between 1435 an ^ I 44 I > because 
more pressing affairs occupied Henry's attention. In 
1437 occurred his expedition to Tangier, and in 1438 
the death of his brother King Duarte, which was 
followed by great discords in the kingdom, so that, in 
the expressive phrase of Zurara, he clean forgot all 
other matters and for the time sent no more ships to 
that land. It is true that two vessels sailed to those parts, 
but one met with bad weather and turned back, while 
the other only went to the Rio do Ouro to load the skins 
and oil of sea wolves, and in 1440 we hear of two cara- 
vels being equipped for the same destination, but as 
they met with contrary fortune, Zurara does no more 
than mention their voyage. All these were private 

1 This is not a river, as was then supposed; it probably derived its name 
from the gold regions of the interior. 

58 



FROM BOJADOR TO CAPE VERDE 

ventures, and probably all of them had merely com- 
mercial ends in view. 

After his brothers had gained their spurs at Ceuta, 
Fernando, nourished in the same martial spirit, wished 
to imitate them and chafed at finding no opportunity 
at home. He asked leave of the King to go abroad for 
the purpose, and when Duarte refused, Henry is said 
to have suggested a renewal of the crusade by an attack 
on Tangier. 

The King had long nourished the design in secret, 
and in January 1436 he sent his ambassadors to Pope 
Eugenius IV and to the Council of Basel to deal with 
questions in dispute with Castile relating to episcopal 
jurisdiction on the frontiers and the military Orders, 
and they obtained from the Pope a bull for a Crusade. 
In April the Cortes were summoned and granted a 
subsidy for the expedition. It was doubtless intended to 
anticipate Castile, which claimed the conquest of North 
Africa, and Duarte hoped that it might be possible to 
capture Arzila and Alcacer as well as Tangier, and by 
acquiring a large tract of territory in their neighbour- 
hood to augment Portuguese trade. His brother Pedro 
and some of the nobles opposed the scheme, on the 
ground that Ceuta had proved a heavy burden in men 
and money to maintain, and that the small population 
of Portugal would be better employed at home in 
developing uncultivated lands; but the policy of over- 
seas expansion prevailed. 

On 22 August 1437 Henry and Fernando left 
Lisbon with part of the fleet, and on the 27th they 
reached Ceuta, where they found the remainder, which 
had been equipped at Oporto by the Count of Arraiolos, 
When Henry reviewed the forces, he found only 10,500 
men, instead of the 1 5,000 it had been decided to send. 

59 



THE PORTUGUESE PIONEERS 

Desertions, the unpopularity of the undertaking and 
the fear of disaster are said to have accounted for the 
difference, though this is disputed. 1 It is also alleged that 
many preferred to incur the penalty of refusal and lose 
their goods rather than embark, and that even those 
who got as far as Ceuta shewed discontent, probably 
because they realised the deficiency in personnel. They 
made their voices heard in a council held in the town, 
but Henry would not listen and overrode all opposi- 
tion ; the fewer the men, the greater the glory, and God 
would provide in a cause which was His. It was not 
until September 9 that the army started by land, and 
on the 1 3th it established itself before Tangier. The 
delay at Ceuta had given the Moors time to concentrate 
their forces, and Henry disobeyed the strict injunctions 
of the King and the rules of prudence by providing 
no communication with the sea, from which he could 
have received reinforcements and secured a safe retreat. 
Though his small army fought bravely, successive 
attacks on the walls were either indecisive or disastrous, 
and meanwhile the numbers of the enemy increased 
daily. Early in October he recognised the mistake he 
had made in choice of position. His men were too few 
to resist the pressure of superior numbers; from be- 
siegers they had become the besieged, and worst of all, 
the food supply now only sufficed for two days and the 
munitions had given out. The Moors knew this through 
deserters and offered to let the Portuguese re-embark on 
conditions. Ceuta, the Moorish captives in Portugal 
and the camp, with its artillery, arms and horses, were 
to be surrendered. During the progress of the negotia- 

1 It is possible that the remaining troops were kept at home in view of the 
tense relations with Castile, and for the same reason the King and Pedro did 
not accompany the expedition. The Castilians were even claiming Ceuta 
from Portugal. 

60 



FROM BOJADOR TO CAPE VERDE 

tions the Christians suffered cruel privations. They had 
only horse-flesh to eat, and for lack of water to drink 
were forced to moisten their mouths with mud. On the 
1 6th they agreed to terms; they were to go on board 
only with the clothes they wore, leaving behind them all 
that the camp contained, and Henry swore on behalf 
of the King to hand back Ceuta and make a peace of 
100 years with the Moors. Here he exceeded his 
powers, for it was doubtful whether Duarte could cede 
the town without the sanction of the people given in 
Cortes. One of the Infants was to remain as hostage, and 
Henry offered to be the man, but was prevented by his 
followers, and the lot fell on Fernando. The governor 
of Tangier handed over his son as security for the free 
departure of the Portuguese, but they were attacked 
as they embarked; nevertheless they reached their ships 
with only the loss of their tents and artillery. 1 

The Moors took Fernando to Fez, loading him with 
insults on the way, and when he arrived there, they made 
him work like a slave by day and kept him in a dark 
dungeon by night. His martyrdom lasted eleven years. 
His sufferings in many ways reproduced those of his 
Saviour, and he is known to history as the Constant 
Prince, and better still as the Holy Infant. The account 
of his imprisonment and death, written by his chaplain, 
is one of the gems of Portuguese literature. Ceuta was 
never restored, and when a Moor asked Henry the 
reason, he replied, 'It belongs to God* ; the surrender to 
the infidel of a Christian town with consecrated churches 
was repugnant to most men, though advocated by a few. 
Henry passed five months at Ceuta in vain endeavours 

1 The history of the expedition has been put in a new light by Dr. 
Domingos Mauricio in a series of articles in Broteria, January to September 
1931. Professor David Lopes has a chapter on the subject in vol. iii of the 
new illustrated History of Portugal. 

61 



THE PORTUGUESE PIONEERS 

to ransom his brother and then returned to the Algarve, 
overwhelmed with grief and loth to meet the King; but 
when the latter fell ill at Thomar in September of the 
following year he hastened to his side. Though the 
Portuguese only lost 500 men at Tangier, the odds 
against them were such that the defeat would, but for 
their valour, have been a disaster. Some of the survivors 
went to the King in sad-coloured garments and ex- 
aggerated their sufferings to gain favours, but the Count 
of Avranches acted like a true knight. Dressed in his 
gayest attire and newly shaved, he approached the 
sovereign with a joyful face and told him that he should 
not grieve at the captivity of Fernando, who was one 
man only, but have the bells rung for rejoicing over 
those who had escaped. 

Under Duarte's will Queen Leonor became guardian 
of their children and regent during the minority of the 
eldest son Afonso V. She was on bad terms with Pedro, 
while he did not hide his dislike of the provisions of his 
brother's will, and aspired to the regency. Dissensions 
broke out, culminating in civil war. Pedro was made 
regent in 1440 and the Queen retired to Spain and 
there died. Finally, after Afonso V had assumed the 
government of the realm, Pedro rebelled and was 
killed at the battle of Alfarrobeira in 1449. 

The appointment of Pedro as regent postponed the 
danger of civil war for a time, and the temporary 
lull in the struggle for control of the government 
enabled Henry to take up the work of discovery afresh. 
In 1441 Zurara is able to record a novelty in Henry's 
'toilsome seedtime of preparation', no less than the 
capture of the first natives by Antao Gon?alves, his 
chamberlain and a very young man. Henry sent him out 
to the Rio do Ouro to take in a cargo of skins and oil, 

62 



FROM BOJADOR TO CAPE VERDE 

and though he gave him the same orders as to all the 
others, that is, to go farther on into the unknown, he 
expected little from a youth without experience; but 
Gon^alves was a man of spirit, ill-content to bring home 
nothing but 'petty merchandise*. Therefore when he 
had loaded his vessel as ordered, he called together the 
ship's company, twenty-one in all, and, taking them 
into his counsel as friends and brothers, suggested that 
they should try to find some people along the river, for 
it would be a fine thing if they were lucky enough to 
bring the first captives into the Infant's presence; he 
would be not a little content to get knowledge about the 
inhabitants of the land, and their own reward would be 
in proportion to the expense and labour they had under- 
taken only for that end. The members of the crew, who 
all belonged to Henry's household, were very willing to 
try to do their master such a service, and, choosing nine 
of them, Gon^alves landed at night, and after marching 
a league inland they found a path and followed it up for 
three leagues until they came upon the footprints of 
some forty or fifty persons. These led in the opposite 
direction, however, and as the heat was intense and they 
had no water and their leader saw they were tired out, 
he called on them to turn back and follow the trail. 
They did so, and came upon a naked man driving a 
camel and carrying two assegais, and forgetting their 
fatigue they pursued him. Though he was one against 
nine, the native defended himself stoutly until he 
received a javelin thrust, and then he threw down his 
arms like a beaten thing and was taken. Farther on they 
saw, upon the top of a hill, the people whose tracks they 
were following, but it was then too late in the day to try 
to reach them. However, on the way back to the ship 
they came upon a blackamoor woman, a slave of those 

63 



THE PORTUGUESE PIONEERS 

on the hill; some wished to let her alone for fear of 
inviting an attack from her owners, who were double 
their number, but Gonfalves bade them seize her and 
was promptly obeyed. The men on the hill had a mind 
to rescue her, but when they saw the Portuguese ready 
to receive them they turned their backs and went off. 
So the first two captives were taken. 

On returning to his ship, Gonfalves found to his 
surprise and joy another young servitor of the Infant 
named Nuno Tristao, who had been sent out in an 
armed caravel with special instructions to sail as far as 
possible beyond the Port of the Galley and make some 
captures. He had brought with him one of Henry's 
Moorish slaves, and this man was ordered to try to get 
information from the natives already taken, but they did 
not understand him. Although Tristao was anxious to 
go on his way, the spirit of emulation led him to propose 
to Gonfalves to join in an attempt to secure further 
captives, 'for besides the knowledge which the Lord 
Infant will gain by means of them, profit will also accrue 
to him by their service and ransom'. Each of them was 
to take ten picked men and go in pursuit of the band 
Gon?alves had met with. The latter objected that the 
men would not be easy to find and would probably have 
warned their friends, 'so that when we think to capture 
them, we may ourselves become their booty', but two 
bold squires, Gonfalo de Sintra and Diogo Annes de 
Valladares, persuaded the council of captains and men 
to accept the proposal. Landing at night, the explorers 
discovered two camps of natives, and dividing them- 
selves into three parties, fell upon them with loud cries 
of 'Portugal' and 'Santiago', killed three and took ten 
prisoners, among the latter one Adahu, who was said to 
be a noble, 'and he showed in his countenance right 



FROM BOJADOR TO CAPE VERDE 

well that he had pre-eminence over the others'. When 
the affair was over, all begged Gongalves to consent to 
be made a knight, but he said that it was not right that 
for so small a service he should receive so great an 
honour, and one his age did not warrant, but he was 
finally persuaded to accept it at the hands of Tristao, 
and for this reason the place took the name of the Port 
of the Cavalier. 

When the party got back to their ships, the Moor 
was set to question the captives, again without result, 
'because the language of these people was not Moorish 
but Azeneguey of Sahara*. But Adahu had travelled and 
learnt the Moorish tongue and answered to whatever 
was asked of him. Next, to make trial of the people of 
the land and acquire further knowledge, the Moor and 
one of the women captives were put on shore to invite 
the natives to ransom some of the prisoners and to 
trade, and two days later a hundred and fifty Moors 
on foot and thirty-five mounted on, horses and camels 
appeared. Though they seemed to be both 'barbarous 
and bestial', they did not lack astuteness, for only three 
appeared on the shore, while the rest lay in ambush to 
seize the Portuguese when they landed. The latter were 
equally cautious and turned back their boat on seeing 
that the Moor did not appear, whereupon the natives 
rushed down to the shore, throwing stones, making 
gestures of defiance, and pointing to the Moor whom 
they had taken prisoner, and he called out to the 
Portuguese to be on their guard. 

After dividing up the captives, Gon9alves returned 
home, while Tristao careened and repaired his vessel, 
keeping his tides as if he were in the Tagus, an act of 
boldness which caused much wonderment, and then 
went on to Cape Branco, but being unable to make any 

65 5 



THE PORTUGUESE PIONEERS 

captures there he sailed for Portugal. Henry rewarded 
the two captains liberally, 1 being especially pleased by 
the information he obtained from Adahu, and by the 
prospect that he would be able to reduce these natives 
to the Christian faith. Realising that he would often be 
sending ships to those parts and that his men would 
have to fight with the infidels, he then determined 
to send Fernando Lopes de Almeida, a knight of the 
Order of Christ, to the Pope to ask him for some of the 
treasures of Holy Church for the salvation of the souls 
of those who should there meet their end. Eugenius IV, 
who was then in Florence, issued a bull of 5 January 
1443 conceding the plenary indulgence asked for, while 
by a letter of 22 October Pedro, as Regent, granted 
Henry the fifth and tenth of the profits which belonged 
to the King, on account of the great expenses he had 
incurred in the discoveries, as well as the privilege that 
no one should go to the parts beyond Cape Bojador 
without his licence. 

The chief Adahu often asked Antao Gon^alves to 
take him back to his country, where he declared he 
could give five or six blackamoors in exchange for him- 
self and a like ransom would be provided for two of the 
other captives, who were young men. Gongalves had 
an eye to the profit, but he knew that other considera- 
tions would move Henry more to grant the necessary 
leave, so he represented that the least he could get for 
the three Moors would be ten, and it would be better 
to save the souls of ten than three, for though they 
were black, yet they had souls like the others. Moreover, 
they were heathen and not Moslems, and so easier to 
bring into the path of salvation, and these blacks would 
be able to give news of more distant countries. As he 

1 He made Goncalves his private secretary. 

66 



FROM BOJADOR TO CAPE VERDE 

foresaw, Henry accepted the proposal, 'for he not only 
wished to have knowledge of that land, but also of the 
Indies and the land of Prester John, if he could'. 
Gonfalves started on his voyage, but a storm drove 
him back to Lisbon. With him was a gentleman of the 
household of the Emperor Frederick III l who had 
come to Portugal to receive knighthood at Ceuta, and 
as he had a curiosity to see new lands, and everyone 
then spoke of the discovery of Guinea, and those who 
took part in it were esteemed as highly as knights, he 
obtained Henry's leave to accompany Gon?alves, for 
he wanted to experience a great storm at sea so as to 
be able to talk about it at home. He had his wish, for 
the tempest was such that they barely escaped destruc- 
tion. However, they started out again, and on reaching 
the land from which Adahu had come Gongalves put 
the chief on shore, clad in garments given him by 
the Infant, trusting to his pride of race that he would 
provide his ransom at a given spot, and hoping he 
would bring his people to traffic there. But as soon 
as he regained his liberty, he forgot all about his 
promise. 

Gon^alves then entered the Rio do Ouro to deal with 
the ransom of the two youths, and after a week of wait- 
ing, on the eighth day a Moor on a white camel arrived 
with a companion and announced that men would come 
for the purpose. On the following day as many as 100 
individuals, male and female, were brought for selection, 
and of these Gon?alves took ten, the negotiations being 
managed by one Martin Fernandes, Henry's official 
ransomer. He also got a little gold dust, the first brought 
by the Portuguese from Guinea, a shield of ox-hide, and 
a number of ostrich eggs, so that one day three dishes 

1 In 1451 the Emperor married Leonor, Henry's niece. 

67 



THE PORTUGUESE PIONEERS 

of them were served at Henry's repast, 'as fresh as if 
they had been eggs of a domestic fowl'. We may well 
presume, observes the chronicler, that no other Christian 
prince had dishes like these at his table, but Henry must 
have been even more pleased with the news that there 
were merchants in those parts who traded in the gold 
that was found there, the same whose caravans he had 
heard of at Ceuta. This Sahara commerce, hitherto the 
monopoly of Moslems, was soon to be tapped by the 
Portuguese. 

Seeing the results of these voyages, more men began 
to undertake them, some to serve the Prince, others to 
gain honour or profit; and in 1443 Nuno Tristao went 
out again by Henry's orders. Passing Cape Branco, he 
reached an island, afterwards known as Arguim. There 
he saw twenty-five canoes, the naked crews of which sat 
astride them with their legs in the water, as if they had 
been oars, to help them in rowing. At a distance the 
Portuguese thought they were birds, though they were 
larger, for other greater marvels were said to exist in 
those parts, but on perceiving them to be men, joy 
filled their hearts and they pursued them. On account 
of the smallness of their craft they could not make a 
large booty, for after hauling in fourteen the boat was 
full. Going on to the island they caught fifteen more, 
and on another island found a quantity of herons who 
bred there, 1 So Tristao returned home, more pleased 
with the booty than on the former occasion because it 
was greater and had been won farther off, and also 
because he had no companion with whom to share it. 
The bay of Arguim became a centre of trade with the 
negro states of the interior and the site of the first 

1 Hence the Portuguese called it Heron Island. This and another small 
island and the much larger one of Arguim are all in the bay of that name. 

68 



FROM BOJADOR TO CAPE VERDE 

European settlement on the Guinea coast; and there 
Henry began the construction of a fort in I448. 1 

When he began to colonise Madeira and other 
islands, men murmured against him as if he were 
spending their money on the work and declared that 
it could have no result, but when the fruits began to 
appear they changed their opinion and praised what 
they had decried. The same happened with the voyages 
to Guinea. When the first and second cargoes of cap- 
tives were brought home, the grumblers wavered in 
their former opinion, and the return of Tristam with 
the third consignment, which had been captured in so 
short a time and with so little trouble, entirely reversed 
their attitude. Indeed, going to the opposite extreme, 
they proclaimed Henry to be a 'second Alexander'. 
When they saw the houses of others full of slaves, and 
their property increasing, covetousness began to work 
in them, and many asked leave to go to the coast from 
which the captives came. The first to do so were the 
men of Lagos, because, after the Tangier campaign, the 
Infant usually lived in that neighbourhood in order to 
supervise the town he was building, 2 and his captains 
unloaded their vessels with booty in that town. 

Among the inhabitants of Lagos was Lan^arote, who 
had been brought up in Henry's household and was 

1 The fort was captured by the Dutch in the seventeenth century and 
afterwards passed from one power to another; its history will be found in 
Astley's Poyages, vol. ii, p. 57, with an engraving of the building. Some 
remains of the original Portuguese construction may still be seen, but the 
place has long been abandoned to its former desolation. So little frequented 
is the coast to the south down to the Cape of Ransome, the Portuguese name, 
now Mirik, that no proper survey exists. Arguim and its neighbourhood 
are described by Gruvel and Chudeau, A trovers la Mauritanie Occidentals 
(Paris, 1909), with illustrations, and by Widal, Bulletin du Comitt d* fades 
historiques et scientifiques, No. 2, July-October 1922, p. 115. 

* Barros says that Henry was then actually living in his new town called 
Terfanabal. 

69 



THE PORTUGUESE PIONEERS 

popular, although he held the post of chief Revenue 
officer! This man proposed an expedition to his friends, 
and when they had equipped six caravels he asked 
Henry for licence to sail, which the latter gladly 
granted and ordered banners to be made with the 
Cross of the Order of Christ on them, one of which 
was to be flown on each caravel. In 1444 the expedition 
proceeded to the islands in the Bay of Arguim and to 
that of Tider and those adjacent, and after various ad- 
ventures captured 235 natives, some of whom put up 
a good defence. It was nothing more than a series of 
successful raids, which gained the leader his knight- 
hood. No attempt was made at exploration, but the 
attack on the island of Tider is justified by Gil Eannes, 
the hero of the rounding of Cape Bojador, in a way that 
fits in with one of Henry's objects as stated by Zurara. 
In urging on his men he said: 'Though we do no more 
than find out how many people there are, it will profit 
us, for the Infant will be able, knowing its power, 
to send a fleet fit to cope with it and crews to match, 
who will be able to fight with the Moors and con- 
quer it'. 1 

When the ships returned to Lagos, the best of the 
captives was sent as an offering to the Church, and 
a boy to St. Vincent on the Cape of that name where 
he became a Franciscan friar and ever after lived as 
a Catholic Christian. The division of the rest is de- 
scribed by Zurara, who, notwithstanding occasional 
displays of pedantry, could write simply and graphically 
when he liked, and had a kindly heart. 

'On the next day, which was the 8th of the month of 
August, very early in the morning, by reason of the 
heat, the seamen began to make ready their boats, and 

1 Chronicle of Guinea, cap. 22. 

70 



FROM BOJADOR TO CAPE VERDE 

to take out their captives and carry them on shore, as 
they were commanded. And these, placed altogether in 
that field, were a marvellous sight, for amongst them 
were some white enough, fair to look upon and well 
proportioned, others were less white like mulattoes; 
others again were as black as Ethiops, and so ugly, both 
in features and in body, as almost to appear the images 
of a lower hemisphere. But what heart could be so hard 
as not to be pierced with piteous feeling to see that 
company? For some kept their heads low and their 
faces bathed in tears, looking one upon another ; others 
stood groaning very grievously, looking up to the height 
of heaven, fixing their eyes upon it, crying out loudly, 
as if asking help of the Father of Nature ; others struck 
their faces with the palms of their hands, throwing 
themselves at full length upon the ground; others made 
their lamentations in the manner of a dirge, after the 
custom of their country. And though we could not 
understand the words of their language, the sound of it 
right well accorded with the measure of their sadness. 
But to increase their sufferings still more, there now 
arrived those who had charge of the division of the 
captives and who began to separate one from another in 
order to make an equal partition of the fifths ; and then 
it was needful to part fathers from sons, husbands from 
wives, brothers from brothers. No respect was shewn 
either to friends or relations, but each fell where his lot 
took him. 

'And who could finish that partition without very 
great toil, for as often as they had placed them in one 
part, the sons, seeing their fathers in another, rose with 
great energy and rushed over to them; the mothers 
clasped their other children in their arms, and threw 
themselves flat on the ground with them, receiving 



THE PORTUGUESE PIONEERS 

blows with little pity for their own flesh, if only they 
might not be torn from them. 

'The Infant was there, mounted upon a powerful 
steed, and accompanied by his retinue, making dis- 
tribution of his favours, as a man who sought to gain 
but small treasure from his share; for he made a very 
speedy partition of the forty-six souls that fell to him as 
his fifth. His chief riches lay in his purpose, and he 
reflected with great pleasure upon the salvation of those 
souls that before were lost. And certainly his expecta- 
tion was not in vain, since, as we said before, as soon as 
they understood our language, they turned Christians 
with very little ado; and I who put together this history 
into the present volume, saw in the town of Lagos boys 
and girls (the children and grandchildren of those first 
captives) born in this land, as good and true Christians 
as if they had directly descended, from the beginning of 
the dispensation of Christ, from those who were first 
baptised/ x 

Zurara claims that the captives soon forgot the 
sorrow of separation from their own folk, became 
Christians and settled down cheerfully in a very mild 
type of servitude. He asserts that these negroes were 
obedient and kindly and of far superior nature to the 
Moors of the nearer parts of Africa. 

Slave-raiding, however justified by conversions, was 
not among Henry's objects as we know them from his 
biographer. After the return of Lan?arote's expedition 
the Prince sent out Gon?alo de Sintra with strict orders 
to go straight to Guinea and for no reason to fall short of 
it; but when he reached Cape Branco he suggested to 
his men that they should stop at Arguim and try and 
take some captives. He remembered the last haul and 

1 Chronicle of Guinea, cap. 25. 

72 



FROM BOJADOR TO CAPE VERDE 

thought he might do as well or better with little toil, 
and though his comrades reminded him of the orders, 
he, 'like a man whom death invited to make his end 
there', said the detention would be short and would not 
listen to protests. On two islands they caught only two 
individuals, both women ; and then an Azenegue boy, 
who had come with them as interpreter, escaped and 
disclosed the Portuguese plans. But the natives would 
not credit him until they had sent a man to the ship 
who pretended to wish to go to Portugal. He was taken 
on board, but followed the example of the youth, and 
though the sailors pointed to these omens, Sintra per- 
sisted and went on to try his luck on the island of Naar, 
where he landed with twelve of his men. There they 
crossed a creek, and stayed so long that the tide rose 
and cut them off from their boat, and a body of Moors, 
200 in number, who- had been waiting for this chance, 
fell upon them and killed the captain and five others, 1 
In the Bay of Arguim the action of Lan?arote and 
his companions had thoroughly roused the natives, who 
almost certainly believed that the captives were destined 
to be eaten and not merely enslaved. Possibly the news 
of these doings had also reached the Rio do Ouro, for 
when three caravels, commanded by Antao Gonfalves 
and Diogo Afonso, Henry's servants, and Gomes Pires, 
master of the royal galley, went there shortly after to 
trade and convert, they could do nothing. But the ex- 
pedition was not useless, because a squire named John 
Fernandes decided to stay among the barbarians, only 
to see the country and bring news of it to the Prince, 
while an old Moor with like curiosity went with the 
ships to Portugal, 

1 Barros places the event much farther north, at the Angra de Sintra, 
only fourteen leagues beyond the Rio do Ouro. 

73 



THE PORTUGUESE PIONEERS 

The next and most important voyage, perhaps made 
in the same year 1444, was another by Nuno Tristao, 
for he was the first man to see the land of the real 
negroes, a green country covered with palms and other 
beautiful trees ; and though prevented from landing by 
the rough weather, he took back news that he had found 
the end of the desert and seen men on shore, men who 
appeared to be very willing to enter into relations with 
the Portuguese. The report roused emulation in Dinis 
Dias, 1 member of a well-known family of sailors and 
once a servant of John I, and though he was no longer 
young, he asked Henry for a caravel, with the resolve 
to do better than previous explorers ; and he did, for he 
never lowered sail until he had passed the Senegal, which 
divided the land of the Azenegue Moors from that of the 
negroes of Guinea called Jaloffs. His ship, the first they 
had ever seen, was supposed to be a fish or a bird, and 
four of them got into a small boat made of a hollow 
tree-trunk to clear up the mystery, but when they saw 
men on deck they made haste to flee. 

Farther south, near the Senegal, other boats appeared 
whose crews also took fright. The Portuguese captured 
four, and Zurara protests that they were the first to be 
taken by Christians in their own land, 'and there is no 
chronicle or history that relates aught to the contrary'. 
'It was no small honour for our Prince whose mighty 
power was enough to command peoples so far from our 
land, making booty in the neighbourhood of Egypt/ 
The river Senegal was thought to be one of the branches 
of the Nile. As the object of Dias was rather discovery 
than captives, he pushed on to a great cape, to which 
for its green look he gave the name of Cape Verde 
he had reached the western limits of the continent and 

1 Barros calls him Fernandes. 

74 



FROM BOJADOR TO CAPE VERDE 

the coast now turned eastward and after landing on 
the island of Bezeguiche, or Goree, he went home, 
and though he brought little- booty, Henry thought 
it great, since it came from so far, and he gave Dias 
and his companions rich rewards. 1 

1 Chronicle of Guinea, cap. 31. 



CHAPTER V 
VOYAGES FROM 1445 TO 1448 

IN 1445* Antao Gonalves received orders to fetch 
back John Fernandes from the Rio do Ouro, where 
he had left him seven months before, and with him 
went two other servants of the Prince, all in three 
caravels. They took in victuals at Madeira, 'because 
of the great supplies that were there', a practice which 
now became usual and testified to the good results of 
Henry's colonisation, and then they decided to go on 
to Cape Branco, and if separated by a storm, as actually 
happened, to meet there. Diogo Afonso, the first to 
arrive, caused a great wooden cross to be erected to 
advise his companions that he had passed on farther, 
and Veil might anyone of another country marvel 
who should chance to pass by that coast and see 
among the Moors such a symbol, if they did not 
know that our ships were sailing in that part of the 
world'. 

When the caravels came together again, they raided 
Arguim island, 2 and a little farther south took John 
Fernandes on board, who told them of a 'noble', Ahude 

1 The dates of the voyages are uncertain; Zurara gives few and Barros 
does not always agree with them, and modern historians differ from both. 
This is a chronological table in the work of Snr. Quirino de Fonseca, p. 104. 
Though Barros does not accept all Zurara's dates, he usually follows him 
closely in narrative, often using the same expressions. 

* Though the coast and islands were so barren, they had a considerable 
population on account of the fisheries. 

76 



VOYAGES FROM 1445 TO 1448 

Meymom, in the vicinity who wished to trade. In ex- 
change for some articles of small value, they received 
nine negroes and a little gold dust, and on the way home 
caught some more natives at Cape Branco, who were 
sold in Lisbon. The chief interest this voyage had for 
the Prince, and has for us, lies in the recovery of 
Fernandes and the story he was able to tell. 

When he was first put on shore and left with the 
relatives of a native brought to Portugal by Antao 
Gongalves, who were shepherds, the latter stripped him 
of his clothes and gave him a burnous and took him 
to their country, which was all sandy, both hill and 
plain, except for some oases where their sheep fed; the 
only trees were palms, the only water came from wells. 
During his wanderings Fernandes learnt about the 
interior of North- West Africa. The people were Arabs, 
Azenegues and Berbers, living in tents; their wealth 
consisted in their herds and in the negroes they captured 
and sold to Moors in exchange for bread and other 
things. They changed camp frequently, for the longest 
they could stay in any one spot was eight days. Milk 
was their chief food and that of their horses and dogs, 
but sometimes they ate a little meal and the seeds, of 
wild herbs. When they could get wheat, they took it 
with the gusto the Portuguese showed for confetti. 
Those who lived by the sea sustained themselves on 
fish only, which they generally ate raw or dried. For 
clothing they had vests and breeches of skins, but the 
more honourable wore burnouses, and a few of higher 
rank were well clad and owned good horses, saddles 
and stirrups. The women covered their faces, but their 
bodies were quite naked, a proof, observes Zurara, of 
their great bestiality, 'for if they had some particle of 
reason, they would follow nature*. The wives of the 

77 



THE PORTUGUESE PIONEERS 

principal men, however, wore gold rings in their 
nostrils and ears, as well as other jewels. 

The men with whom Fernandes travelled guided them- 
selves by the stars and the winds, 'as is done at sea', 
and by observing the flight of birds, for regular paths 
did not exist. They took him at his request to the land 
of Ahude Meymom, enduring great thirst by the way, 
for their stock of water gave out and they passed three 
days without drinking. The chief, who was accompanied 
by his sons and others, numbering in all 150 persons, 
received him well and during his stay there Fernandes 
lived on milk only; but it suited him, and when the 
caravels picked him up, he was well nourished and had 
a good colour. As the heat and the dust of the sandy 
country were very great, those who had not horses 
travelled on camels, some of which were white and 
made fifty leagues a day. Fernandes found that negro 
slaves were common and that the men of rank had 
plenty of gold brought from the Guinea coast; he saw 
quantities of ostriches, deer, gazelles and partridges, 
and noted that the swallows which left Portugal in the 
summer wintered on those sands; other small birds 
went there alsoj but the storks passed over to hibernate 
in Negro-land. 1 

The next expedition, organised by Gon^alo Pacheco, 2 
High Treasurer of Ceuta, a wealthy man who 'always 
kept ships at sea against the enemies of the Kingdom', 
ended unfortunately. After successful raids at Arguim 
and Tider, the adventurers went on to Negro-land in 
emulation of Dinis Dias, but a tempest lasting three 
days drove them back nearly to Cape Branco, where they 
had made one of their previous hauls. There they 

1 Chronicle of Guinea, caps. 76, 77. 
He was father of Duarte Pacheco. 

78 



VOYAGES FROM 1445 TO 1448 

decided to try their luck again and put out their boats, 
but when fifty natives armed with lances appeared on 
the shore, some of the Portuguese advised caution, 
fearing that others might be lying in ambush. However, 
bolder spirits replied that if they were always to reason 
thus they would never do a single brave deed. 'All the 
men opposed to us are not enough to withstand ten of 
ours in a fight, for they are but a handful of Moorish 
knaves who have never learned to fight, except like 
beasts, and the first man to be wounded among them 
will frighten all the others', and, ironically, 'bold indeed 
would be the men who have their armed ships in the 
Strait of Ceuta and through all the Levant Sea, if they 
were to dread such a hostile gathering as this'. 

The Portuguese forced their way on shore and fol- 
lowed the fleeing natives, capturing seven, and still not 
content with their booty they resolved to try and add to 
it on the islands between Capes Branco and Tira. Land- 
ing on one of them they scattered in search of their prey, 
but fell into an ambush and had to retreat to their boats ; 
one of these stuck fast on the shore and could not be 
launched, and seven men who could not save themselves 
by swimming were killed. It was said that the natives 
ate those dead men, but though Zurara, with his usual 
fairness, records a denial of the report, he declares that 
the natives were accustomed to eat the livers of their 
captives and drink their blood in the case of those who 
had killed their near relations, counting it as a very 
great vengeance. 1 

The disaster suffered by Gongalo de Sintra and his 
death were not forgotten in Lagos, and in the same 
year of 1445 the governor, judges and corporation of 
the town, with Lanfarote Pessanha at their head, went 

1 Chronicle of Guinea, caps, 36 1048. 

79 



THE PORTUGUESE PIONEERS 

to Prince Henry and offered to undertake an expedition 
against the Moors of the island of Tider and break their 
power. To gain his consent, they put forward their 
crusading purpose and the prospect of booty, in which 
he would share. Henry welcomed the first, while as to 
the second he declared that he prized their good-will 
more than the hope of profit. He not only authorised 
the enterprise, but gave such assistance that it became 
a national one, for he caused the project to be published 
over the kingdom, with the result that the largest fleet 
which had ever sailed down the west coast of Africa 
was equipped. 

The Lagos squadron consisted of fourteen caravels 
and carried many notable men, including Lan?arote's 
father-in-law, Sueiro da Costa, alcaide of the town, a 
veteran soldier who had been in many sieges and battles, 
among them that of Agincourt; Alvaro de Freitas, a 
noble and Commander of Aljezur in the Order of 
Santiago, who had made great prizes from the Moors of 
Granada; and Gomes Pires, captain of the King's galley. 
Lisbon and Madeira supplied twelve vessels, among 
which were those of Dinis Dias, the discoverer of the 
land of the negroes ; Alvaro Gon^alves de Ataide, tutor 
to the King and, later on, Count of Atouguia; and 
Teixeira and Zarco, the two Captains of the island; 
while last but not least went the famous sea-rover 
Palen<;o. The list contains the names of the most daring 
and experienced mariners of Portugal. The Lagos 
caravels started on 10 August, and as some were better 
sailors than others and storms might hinder their 
progress, they agreed to meet at Cape Branco. The first 
to reach it was Louren?o Dias, who, going ahead to the 
Isle of Herons in Arguim Bay, fell in with one of the 
ships of Gon^alo Pacheco's expedition on its way home, 

80 



VOYAGES FROM 1445 TO 1448 

and presently the other two appeared. Bias was 
delighted at the sight, because he knew them to be 
Portuguese, for no vessels of that build or like it were 
to be found in those parts except what came from 
Portugal. He invited them to stay and take part in the 
attack on Tider, and after debating the matter in council, 
according to custom, they agreed; though they were 
short of provisions for the homeward voyage, it would 
be better to throw half their captives overboard than 
lose a chance of gaining honour and avenging their dead 
comrades. In the meantime nine of the Lagos caravels 
reached the cape and, after the captains had conferred 
with Lan?arote, it was decided to go to Arguim and 
wait for the others before commencing operations. 
There they found Dias and the other three caravels and 
saluted them with a discharge of their bombards and 
culverins; they further shewed their joy by sounding 
their musical instruments and singing, after which they 
fell to eating and drinking, 'like men full of good 
confidence in victory'. 

The next day, at an assembly held on shore, the 
plan of campaign was arranged. Two hundred and 
seventy-eight men were to land in three battles or divi- 
sions ; the vanguard consisted of footmen and lancers 
under Alvaro de Freitas, the centre of crossbowmen and 
archers under Lan^arote, and in the rear-guard went 
the men-at-arms led by Sueiro da Costa. They intended 
to disembark and attack before dawn, but the pilots 
mistook the direction in the dark, and the ships did not 
reach the island of Tider until the sun was high in the 
heavens, which led to murmuring against the Almighty 
for His disfavour and to a division of opinion as to their 
next movements. Taught by experience, the rank and file 
wished the landing to be deferred on the grounds that, 

81 6 



THE PORTUGUESE PIONEERS 

as no Moors appeared, they were probably numerous 
and lying hid in ambushes. But the captains pressed 
vehemently for an immediate onset. 

The enthusiasm of the leaders, who preferred honour 
to profit, carried the men with them, and the host dis- 
embarked under the banner of the Crusade, which 
Lanfarote entrusted to Gil Eannes, making him first 
take an oath that no fear or peril would make him give 
it up until he died. After all this preparation, we expect 
to hear of a pitched battle, but the issue was tame 
enough. After a march of three leagues over sand in the 
great heat, the Portuguese arrived at the place and saw 
a multitude of Moors drawn up in hostile array, and, 
sounding trumpets, they attacked and quickly routed 
the enemy, who took to flight, losing eight killed and 
four captured. This petty gain and a supply of drinking 
water were the spoils of victory and the phrase of 
Horace, 'parturiunt montes\ rises to the lips, but the 
event probably had an importance which the chronicler 
omits to mention ; it prepared the way for the founda- 
tion of the fortress and trading settlement established a 
few years later on Arguim island. Without meaning it, 
for he is always in earnest, Zurara makes his readers 
smile by adding that many of the Christians were so 
tired that they could not return to the ships on foot and 
found a great help in their need in some asses, which 
were plentiful on the island, and on these they rode 
back; however, the cavaliers had reason for their 
fatigue, for they had been up all night and marching 
much of the day on loose sand under a burning sun, 
carrying their arms, and some perhaps armour as well. 
Zurara ends his account of the day's work by recording 
that Sueiro da Costa was asked to receive knighthood 
and agreed, if it were bestowed by Alvaro de Freitas; 

82 



VOYAGES FROM 1445 TO 1448 

he expresses his surprise, in which we join, that so 
distinguished a man should never have been willing to 
accept the honour until then. 

After this event the three caravels left for home, but 
some of those which had failed to come before, now 
arrived and complained that they had not been in the 
invasion of the island. It was therefore resolved to make 
another attack on Tider. Landing there, they saw a 
body of Moors on the other side of a broad creek, who, 
feeling themselves secure, scoffed at the Christians, but 
three youths of Prince Henry's household plunged into 
the water and, followed by others, swam over and fell 
upon the enemy, dispersed them and captured fifty- 
seven. 1 

The conquest of Tider having been accomplished, 
Lanfarote resigned his command and left each of the 
captains to do as he pleased, according to Henry's in- 
structions. The booty was divided and the small cara- 
vels started home as winter was approaching, but Gomes 
Pires resolved to go south to learn about the land of the 
negroes and the river Nile, and Alvaro de Freitas was 
bent on going farther, 'even to the Terrestrial Paradise*. 
Lanfarote and three other captains agreed to join them, 
and in six caravels they sailed to the green land beyond 
the Sahara; there they found birds new to them, such 
as flamingos and hornbills ; and some fishes as large as 
sharks, with mouths three palms long, and others of the 
size of mullets, having as it were crowns on their heads 
like gills through which they breathed. They coasted 
until they descried two palm-trees which Dinis Dias had 
first seen, and by them and by the scent of fruit which 
was wafted over the waves they knew they had reached 
Guinea and were close to the Senegal, for Henry had 

1 Chronicle of Guinea, caps. 49 to 58, 

83 



THE PORTUGUESE PIONEERS 

told them that some twenty leagues beyond those palms 
they would find it, for so he had learnt from Azenegue 
prisoners. And sure enough they presently noticed that 
the sea-water was mud-colour, and tasting it, they found 
it sweet, and soon they reached the estuary of the river 
and landed. They began by seizing a negro girl and 
boy, the latter of whom Henry caused to be taught to 
read and write Vith all other knowledge that a Christian 
should possess', intending to have him ordained a priest 
to preach to his countrymen. In a hut they found a 
shield made of the hide of an elephant and learnt that 
these animals were so large that the flesh of one would 
make a good meal for 2500 men. Farther on they 
heard the blows of an axe and saw a man cutting 
timber. One Stephen Afonso, a short and slender 
man, approached the negro from behind and, leaping 
on his back, held him by the hair, like a hound who 
has fixed on the ear of a mighty bull. While the two 
were struggling, Afonso's companions came up and 
seized the negro by the arms and neck, but as Afonso 
then let go, the native threw them off and escaped. 
The boy and girl were his children, and when he found 
they were missing from his hut he thrust an assegai 
into the face of the first Portuguese he met and would 
have been made prisoner if another native had not 
come to aid him. 

From the Senegal the mariners went on to Cape 
Verde and watered at an island, where they saw the 
arms of the Infant carved upon the trees with the letters 
of his motto, a sign that other caravels had gone ahead 
of them, and in fact Zarco had preceded them. 'Of a 
surety I doubt', observes Zurara, 'if since the great 
power of Alexander and Caesar, there hath ever been 
any prince in the world that had the marks of his con- 



VOYAGES FROM 1445 TO 1448 

quest set up so far from his own land'; he does not 
exaggerate, for the distance from Portugal was some 
2000 miles. As the number of blacks was such that 
they dared not land, they placed on the shore a cake, 
a mirror and a sheet of paper on which a cross was 
traced, to shew their peaceful purpose; but when the 
natives found these articles they broke up the cake and 
shivered the mirror with their assegais and tore the 
paper, shewing that they cared for none of these things* 
On this Gomes Pires ordered his crossbowmen to let 
fly their bolts at those people, to advise that if they did 
not care to be friendly the Portuguese could do them 
hurt. The negroes replied by launching their assegais 
and a shower of poisoned arrows ; and seeing that they 
could do nothing with such folk, the caravels turned 
back and sailed for Portugal. On the way, some of 
them raided and took captives in the island of Tider. 1 

After the conquest of this island three of the caravels 
sailed off to Palma, one of the Canaries, accompanied 
by two chiefs from Gomera, who had been at Henry's 
court and did not forget his favours; and they took 
seventeen men and women, among the latter one of 
great size, said to be a queen. One of these caravels 
returned to Gomera and seized some of the friendly 
inhabitants and brought them home, at which the 
Prince was very wroth, and he had these Canarians 
conducted to his own house, nobly attired and sent back 
to their island. 

Dinis Dias and Rodrigueannes de Travassos, who 
had separated from the fleet early in the voyage, also 
reached Cape Verde and had fierce combats with the 
inhabitants, in which most of their men were wounded, 
because neither harness nor coat of mail stayed the 

1 Chronicle of Guinea, caps. 59, 60, 63 to 65. 

85 



THE PORTUGUESE PIONEERS 



course of the native arrows, and the shield of one of 
the Prince's pages was so full of them that it looked like 
the back of a porcupine when he lifts his quills. 

Zarco had equipped a caravel and given it to his 
nephew Alvaro Fernandes with strict orders not to join 
in slave-hunts, but to go straight to the land of the 
negroes and as far beyond as he could, and to try to 
bring some new thing to the Prince which would give 
him pleasure. The caravel was manned by a crew ready 
for any toil and its captain was both young and daring, 
so that they went sailing over the ocean sea to the 
Senegal, where they took in two pipes of water, one 
of which they afterwards carried back to Lisbon, and 
'perhaps not even Alexander drank of water that had 
been brought from so far'. Thence they passed on to 
Cape Verde, and anchored there to see if canoes would 
cpme off to them. Two boats holding ten Guinea 
men presently approached, and five of the natives 
went on board and were provided with food and drink. 
They had come to spy, and on returning to shore re- 
ported that it would be easy to capture the ship ; with 
this purpose thirty-five of them put out in six boats, but 
waited a little distance off, not daring to attack. Seeing 
this, Fernandes had a boat with eight men lowered on 
the farther side of the caravel where it could not be 
seen, and when one of the canoes outdistanced the 
others, the Portuguese boat rowed round and made for 
the natives, but they threw themselves into the water 
and proved hard to catch, because they dived like 
cormorants. From there Fernandes went on to a cape 
where there were many bare palm-trees and named it 
the Cape of Masts, and then turned back; and this was 
the caravel that went farther than all the others in 1445. 

1 Chronicle of Guinea, cap. 75. 

86 



VOYAGES FROM 1445 TO 

If the large fleet accomplished nothing in the way 
of discovery, apart from the enterprise of Alvaro 
Fernandes, the next attempt, that of Nuno Tristao in 
1446, ended in disaster. He was one of the first and 
most valiant of the explorers and knew Henry's ambi- 
tions, because he had been brought up from early youth 
in his household, so that now, seeing how the Prince 
was toiling to send his ships even beyond the land of 
the negroes, and that some had passed the river of 
Nile, 1 he thought he would not deserve his good name 
if he were not to be of the company. Equipping a 
caravel, he went straight to Guinea and passed sixty 
leagues beyond Cape Verde to the Rio Grande, 2 where 
he thought there ought to be some inhabited place, and 
launching two boats with twenty-two men, he rowed up 
the stream, where he descried houses. Before he reached 
the shore, twelve boats carrying seventy or eighty 
natives appeared, and while one of them landed its 
men, who began to shoot their arrows, those in the 
remaining boats attacked the Portuguese on the other 
side and pursued them until they reached the caravel, 
wounding all, 3 The arrows carried such a virulent poison 
that four men died before they could get on board, and 
the rest could not haul in the boats and were obliged to 
cut their cables and make sail. Of the twenty-two who 
started from the ship, only two survived, and two of the 
crew were wounded as they tried to raise the anchors ; 
and all lay ill for quite twenty days, so that only five, 
nearly all boys, remained. Among them was a sailor lad 
who said he could set the course if directed by another, 
and a youth, Aires Tinoco, from the inland town of 

i The Senegal. The Geba. 

* Some assert, says Barros, that this affair took place in the Nuno river, 
twenty leagues beyond the Rio Grande, hence its name. 

87 



THE PORTUGUESE PIONEERS 

Oliven?a, 'guided by Divine grace', made himself the 
pilot and bade the others steer north-east, for he thought 
that Portugal lay in that direction. For two months they 
never sighted land, and then they caught sight of a 
pinnace belonging to a Galician pirate, who told them 
they were off Sines, and they were overcome with joy 
after their terrible experiences. They had sailed through 
the unknown for sixty days and been obliged to throw 
overboard seventeen corpses of their comrades, 'burying 
their flesh in the bellies of fish'. Henry was all the more 
distressed at the loss of so many brave men because he 
had brought nearly all of them up, 'but he believed that 
their souls had found salvation' and took especial care 
of their wives and children. 1 

The death of Tristao and his companions did not 
daunt others, and in the same year Zarco sent out his 
nephew Alvaro Fernandes to go still farther south and 
achieve some new thing for his lord ; so they sailed past 
Cape Verde to the Cape of Masts, which they had 
attained the previous year, finding nothing on shore 
more worthy of mention than some elephants* dung as 
big as a man. Still going south, they went as far as the 
Tabite river, thirty-two leagues beyond the Nuno, and 
landed at various points and experienced the poisoned 
arrows of the men of Guinea, though they avoided 
fighting with them by Henry's orders, and finally they 
reached a point no leagues beyond Cape Verde. As 
this caravel had gone beyond any others, the crew on 
their return received the reward promised for such an 
achievement, 100 doubloons from the Regent Pedro 
and the same amount from Henry, who was very happy 
on account of the advance made, though practically no 
booty had been brought home. 2 

1 Chronicle of Guinea, cap. 86. * Ibid. 87. 

88 



VOYAGE FROM 1445 TO 1448 

Moved by the rewards offered and regardless of the 
risks, nine caravels sailed from Portugal in 144647 
for Guinea, and at Madeira, where they called to pro- 
vision, they were joined by two ships captained by 
Tristao Teixeira and Garcia Homem, Zarco's son-in- 
law. Putting in at Gomera, they landed the Canarians 
who had been taken, as related before, and embarked 
some of Henry's household. Eight of the vessels went 
to the Rio Grande, and going on shore the mariners 
found the fields sown with rice and cotton trees, but as 
they entered a thick grove a large band of Guinea men 
fell upon them, and they had to retire with the loss 
of five men, who died from poisoned arrows. These 
weapons struck such fear into them that they went no 
farther. 1 

To the same year belongs the expedition of Gomes 
Pires to the Rio do Ouro, which contented itself with 
slave-raiding, because the Moors would not trade. In 
view of this refusal the Prince sent out his squire Diogo 
Gil in 1447 to Messa, near Cape Non, to try traffick- 
ing there, and by the help of John Fernandes fifty-one 
Guinea men were obtained in exchange for eighteen 
Moors, together with a lion, which Henry afterwards 
sent to Galway as a present to an agent of his in that 
town. 2 In the same year Antao Gonf alves tried to trade 
at the Rio do Ouro, but had the same experience as 
Gomes Pires and nearly met the fate of Nuno Tristao. 
The whole coastline was hostile to the Christians, and 
in 1448 they suffered another disaster. 

The report of the voyages had reached Scandinavia, 
and one Vallarte, a courtier of King Christopher, 

1 Chronicle of Guinea, cap. 88. 

2 There was an active trade between Galway and Portugal in the fifteenth 
century; Portuguese ships visiting Bristol would cross to Ireland and back 
before returning home, Shillington and Chapman, op. cit. pp. 66, 67. 

89 



THE PORTUGUESE PIONEERS 

desirous of seeing the world, travelled to Portugal and 
asked Henry to let him have a caravel to go to Guinea. 
His wish was granted, and he was told to visit the ruler 
of Cape Verde, and if he proved to be a Christian, as 
had been reported, to ask him to aid the Portuguese in 
their war against the Moors, A knight of Christ accom- 
panied Vallarte to direct the sailors and act as envoy to 
the black potentate, and two natives of that land went 
as interpreters. Owing to 'great toils* at sea, it took 
them exactly six months to reach Cape Verde from Lis- 
bon, and though their relations with the natives were at 
first quite friendly, one day when the Danish knight 
went on shore in the ship's boat, he and his companions 
were attacked without reason or warning and either slain 
or taken prisoners. Years later captives from those parts 
told Henry that in a castle very far inland three of the 
Christians were still living; one of them was probably 
the man whom Antoniotto Uso di Mare met and took 
to be a member of the expedition of Vivaldi. As this 
sailed in 1291, he could only have been a descendant, 
and even then would not have kept his white colour or 
known the language. 1 

This voyage is the last recorded by Zurara. Up to 
1446 fifty-one caravels had gone to those parts and 
passed 450 leagues beyond Cape Bojador, 'and it was 
found that the coast ran south with many promon- 
tories, and the Infant had it all added to the navigating 
charts'. 2 

The extent of coast previously known for certain was 
200 leagues and it had now been increased to 650. 
Moreover, whereas what had been shewn on the Mappa 
Mundi before was depicted at hazard, what was now 
placed on the charts came from actual observation. At 

1 Chronicle of Guinea, cap. 94. * Ibid. cap. 78. 

90 



VOYAGES FROM 1445 TO 1448 

the beginning of his chronicle Zurara gives four of the 
reasons which inspired Henry's efforts, and ends it with 
the fifth, the conversion of the infidels ; and counting 
those who had been brought to Portugal, he found that 
down to 1448 they numbered 927, 'of whom the greater 
part were turned into the true way of salvation'. 1 Here 
he concludes the volume, expressing his intention to 
write another reaching to the end of Henry's life, 
although he says the events of subsequent years were 
not conducted with the same labour and courage, 
because the trader took the place of the soldier. The 
second volume of the Chronicle of Guinea appears never 
to have been compiled. 

It will have been noted that few of the mariners went 
straight on the road to discovery, according to Henry's 
wish; all the advance made was due to some three or 
four of them. The time, energy and money expended 
in the years from 1434 to 1448 produced, as it seems 
to us, comparatively little result, because so few of the 
men entered heartily into their master's ideas, and the 
progress would have been even slower but for the lure of 
adventure, trading profits, advancement or vengeance. 
This is the impression a careful reader cannot help 
drawing from the narrative of Zurara, which for the 
most part evidently incorporates the naive reports taken 
down by writers who had preceded him from the lips of 
the sailors, and reveals their native egotism without an 
attempt at concealment. Yet we have no cause to be 
surprised, for the frailty of human nature in general is 
no less to-day, though it exhibits itself under different 
aspects. In some respects we are perhaps better than 
they were, in others we are probably worse, because 
more instructed. 

1 Chronicle of Guinea, cap. 96. 
QI 



THE PORTUGUESE PIONEERS 

A national interest in the voyages could not have 
been aroused without the hope of material gain. Had 
that inducement been lacking, they would have ended 
with Henry's life. The real progress came from a little 
company whom he inspired with his ideals, some of 
whom carried on his work when he was gone, and so 
well that two of them, Diogo Cao and Bartholomew 
Dias, accomplished in three voyages and in four years 
more than their predecessors in forty, though it is fair 
to say that they served John II, a man with the will 
and power to speed up exploration. 

After 1448 there is a hiatus of several years in the 
history of discovery, and the authorities make no effort 
to explain it, so that we are driven to seek the reason 
for ourselves. It may perhaps be found in political 
events, and first in the duel between Pedro and his 
partisans and the nobility, which though liquidated at 
the battle of Albarrobeira, left problems which must 
have compelled Henry's attention ; and secondly, in the 
struggle for the Canaries, in which he seems to have 
been actively engaged from 1450 until 1455, when the 
marriage of Henry IV of Castile to Joana, daughter of 
King Duarte, brought a temporary cessation of hos- 
tilities. 

Henry's financial embarrassments must already have 
been heavy, though he was assisted by an annual grant 
of sixteen contos from the crown, for he left debts to the 
amount of 3 5,000 dobras or about ji 30,000, an enormous 
sum for those times. 1 He could therefore hardly have 
afforded to finance voyages of exploration as well as 
military expeditions against the Canaries, and this may 

1 These are the figures of Snr. Armando CortezSo, Subsiclios para a 
historia da Guinl e Cabo Verde (Lisbon, 1931), p. 6. Among his creditors 
were the Crown, the Duke of Braganza and the monastery of Alcobaga. 

92 



VOYAGES FROM 144$ TO 1448 

explain the silence of old historians on this subject for 
the years from 1448 to 1455. 

Trading ventures continued, however, and when the 
next voyages recorded, those of Cadamosto, were made 
their aim was commercial. Nevertheless they promoted 
the cause of intensive discovery to a greater extent than 
the earlier ones. 



93 



CHAPTER VI 

FIRST VOYAGE OF ALVISE DA CADAMOSTO 

WE have now to deal with the exploits of some 
Italian traders and seamen under Henry's 
patronage, and in the first place with Alvise da Cada- 
mosto, 1 an intelligent and careful observer, who relates 
his experiences by sea and land with a natural eloquence 
contrasting with the irregular style of Zurara, and 
supplies a wealth of information about native life in 
Africa, more than is found in any writer of the century. 
Unfortunately he seems to have set the example, 
followed by his countrymen Columbus and Vespucci, 
of claiming a discovery that he had not made, while 
taking to himself all the credit for those he had. Cada- 
mosto belonged to a patrician family of Venice; 2 his 
father Giovanni was a wealthy man, who was led by 
avarice into lawsuits and fell into disgrace, and finally 
in 1453 he was banished. The desire to repair the 
fortunes of the family and make for himself both money 

1 The correct spelling of his name is Ca' da Mosto, which means the 
family of Mosto, but the accepted form in English is used here. His home 
. may be seen on the Grand Canal in Venice. 

* New facts about Alvise and his family are given in a pamphlet by 
Signor A. da Mosto, // ncwigatorf Alvise da Mosto e la suafamiglia (Venice, 
1928), an off-print from the ArchMo 7eneto 9 vol. ii, 1927. The account of 
his voyages given in our text has been compared with the new edition of 
Signor Rinaldo Caddeo (Milan, 1929), which contains a bibliography and 
much important matter. No complete English version of Cadamosto's 
voyages has been printed in modern times, and Major's translation of parts 
is sometimes less accurate than the Portuguese by Trigoso. A French transla- 
tion was published by Charles Schefer (Paris, 1895). 

94 



FIRST VOYAGE OF ALVISE DA CADAMOSTO 

and fame, induced Alvise to embark on trading enter- 
prises abroad; and when we first hear of him in 1454, 
he had already visited Alexandria and Flanders and was 
resolved to return to the North in company with his 
brother Antonio. On 8 August of that year, therefore, 
he embarked on the trading fleet bound for Flanders 
under the command of the chevalier Marco Zeno. Bad 
weather compelled them to stop at Cape St, Vincent, 
near which, at the village of Raposeira, Henry happened 
to be staying. When the latter heard of their arrival, 
he sent his private secretary, Antao Gonfalves, and 
Patrizio di Conti, Venetian Consul in Portugal, to visit 
them, with samples of Madeira sugar, dragon's blood 
and other products of the lands he had found and 
colonised, and they declared that those who had voyaged 
to those parts had made large profits, for one soldo spent 
had brought them seven and sometimes ten. 

Tempted by this story, Cadamosto asked if the Infant 
allowed anyone who so desired to sail there, and was told 
that he did, on certain conditions: if the adventurer 
equipped and loaded a caravel at his own expense, he 
must on his return pay Henry a fourth of the produce; 
if the Prince equipped the vessel and the adventurer 
loaded it, the profit would be shared equally; if nothing 
was brought back, Henry would bear the whole expense. 
Cadamosto was assured that the voyage could not fail 
to realise a large profit and that the Prince would be 
delighted if a Venetian made it, and would specially 
favour him, because he believed that spices would be 
found, of which the Venetians possessed more know- 
ledge than any other people. Cadamosto then had an 
interview with the Prince, who confirmed all that had 
been said, and after purchasing on board the articles he 
deemed necessary for his voyage, the former disem- 

95 



THE PORTUGUESE PIONEERS 

barked and the fleet sailed off to Flanders. Cadamosto 
was hospitably entertained by Henry for some months, 
during which he had full opportunity to learn his 
character; and in the following year the Prince equipped 
a new caravel of forty-five tons for him, captained by 
Vincent Dias, of whom we have already heard, and on 
22 March 1455 they sailed for Madeira and arrived on 
the 25th at Porto Santo. Cadamosto found the island 1 
producing wheat and oats sufficient for its population 
and abounding in cattle, wild boars and rabbits; it also 
gave dragon's blood, the best honey in the world, and 
wax, and the coast was a good fishing-ground. 

On the 2 8th they went on to Madeira, which then con- 
tained four principal settlements, Machico, Santa Cruz, 
Funchal and Camara dos Lobos, and some smaller ones ; 
these could furnish about 800 men, of whom 1 20 would 
be horsemen. Though the island was mountainous like 
Sicily, it was very fertile and produced an average of 
30,000 Venetian stara of wheat yearly. The soil at first 
yielded sixty-fold, but this had been reduced to thirty 
or forty at the time of Cadamosto's visit. The island was 
very well watered, and on the eight or more streams 
which traversed it saw-mills had been built, which 
worked constantly in making wooden articles and all 
kinds of tables with which they supplied the whole of 
Portugal and other lands. Some were of a fragrant cedar 
like cypress, others of yew, also very beautiful and red 
in colour. 

The sugar-canes, which Henry had imported from 
Sicily, were producing so abundantly that 400 cantaros 2 
of sugar were made at one boiling, and the climate was 

1 Cadamosto says that the islands were discovered twenty-seven years pre- 
viously; the figure should be thirty-five. 

2 The cantaro is the same as the alqueire, which contains thirteen litres. 

9 6 



FIRST VOYAGE OF ALVISE DA CADAMOSTO 

so favourable that the quality was likely to increase. 
White sweetmeats were made in great perfection and 
honey and wax were produced, but in small quantities. 
The wines were extremely good, considering that the 
vines were young, and they not only sufficed for local 
needs, but were exported; the Malvoisie vine bore as 
many grapes as leaves, in bunches two or three or even 
four palms in length. There were wild peacocks, some 
of them white, but no partridges or other game, except 
quails, and wild boars in the mountains. There had also 
been an immense number of pigeons, and some were 
still to be seen, which they caught by the neck with a 
kind of lasso and pulled down from the trees ; the birds, 
having never known man, were not afraid of him. There 
were plenty of cattle and many of the inhabitants were 
wealthy, for the whole country was like a garden. Cada- 
mosto also mentions the existence of houses of Friars 
Minor, whom he calls men of holy life. 

From Madeira they sailed to the Canaries. Four of 
them, Lanzarote, Fuerteventura, Gomera and Ferro, 
were inhabited by Christians; the other three, Grand 
Canary, Teneriffe and Palma, by pagans. The Chris- 
tians lived on barley-bread, meat and goat's milk, but 
they had neither wine nor corn, except what was im- 
ported, and little fruit. There were numbers of wild 
asses, especially in Ferro. Great quantities of a plant 
called orchil for dyeing were sent from the islands to 
Cadiz and Seville, and thence to other parts both East 
and West; they also produced goat's leather, tallow and 
excellent cheeses. The inhabitants of the four Christian 
islands spoke different languages, so that they could with 
difficulty understand each other. There were no walled 
places, but the inhabitants had redoubts in the mountains, 
the passes to which were so difficult that they could not 

97 7 



THE PORTUGUESE PIONEERS 

be taken except by a siege. These four islands were all 
large, but those inhabited by pagans were larger and 
more populous, especially Grand Canary, which had 
about 8000 or 9000 inhabitants, and Teneriffe, the 
largest of all, said to contain from 14,000 to 15,000; 
Palma had few, but was very beautiful. The Christians 
had never been able to subdue these three islands, as 
they had plenty of men to defend them; the mountains 
were lofty and the passes dangerous. 

Teneriffe, whose burning peak was visible, according 
to sailors, at a distance of two hundred and fifty Italian 
miles, and measured sixty miles from the foot to the 
summit, 1 was governed by nine chiefs, bearing the title 
of Dukes. Son succeeded to father, not by inheritance, 
but by force. Their only weapons were stones and 
wooden javelins; some of these were pointed with 
sharpened horn instead of iron, others merely had the 
point hardened by fire. 

The inhabitants went naked, except some few who 
wore goats' skins; they anointed their bodies with 
goats' fat, mixed with the juice of certain herbs, which 
swelled the skin and defended it from cold, although 
the climate was mild. They dwelt in caverns in the 
mountains and their food was barley, flesh, goat's milk 
and some fruit, especially figs. They had no religion, 
but some worshipped the sun, others the moon and 
planets, with strange forms of idolatry. 

The women were not held in common, but each man 
might have as many wives as he liked; no maiden, 
however, was taken to wife until she had passed a night 
with the chief, and this they held a very great honour. 

1 According to R. H. Major the perpendicular height is 12,180 feet, but 
the distance in ascending from the foot to the summit may fairly be computed 
at sixty miles. 

98 



FIRST VOYAGE OF ALVISE DA CADAMOSTO 

Cadamosto obtained these facts from inhabitants of the 
four Christian islands, who were wont to attack the 
other islands by night and carry off men and women, 
and send them to Spain to be sold as slaves. It some- 
times happened that Christians were captured in these 
expeditions, but the natives, instead of killing them, 
made them slaughter their goats, and skin and prepare 
them, an occupation which they looked upon as most 
degrading; and they kept them at this work until they 
could earn their ransom. 

Another of their customs was, that when one of their 
chiefs took up his office, someone would offer himself 
to die in honour of the festival, and on the day ap- 
pointed they all assembled in a deep valley, where, 
after certain ceremonies had been performed, the victim 
who chose to die for his lord threw himself from a height, 
and was dashed to pieces. Afterwards the chief was held 
bound to do the victim honour, and to reward his family 
with gifts. The Canarians were experts in running and 
jumping; they leapt from rock to rock like goats and 
could throw a stone stoutly and with a sure aim. Both 
men and women painted their skins with the juice of 
certain herbs, green, red and yellow, and esteemed such 
colours as much as Europeans did fine clothes. 

Cadamosto visited the islands of Gomera and Ferro, 
and also touched at Palma, but did not land, because he 
was anxious to continue his voyage. 

Sailing southwards, in a few days he reached Cape 
Branco, 870 miles from the Canaries, during two-thirds 
of which he was out of sight of land. This cape was so 
named by the Portuguese, who discovered it, from the 
whiteness of the sand, on which there was no sign of 
grass or of any vegetation whatever. On all this coast 
Cadamosto found abundance of good big fish, which 

99 



THE PORTUGUESE PIONEERS 

he compared with those near Venice. The Bay of Arguim 
was very shallow throughout, and it had many shoals, 
both of sand and rock. The currents were so strong 
that men did not venture to sail except in the daytime, 
and even then they constantly heaved the lead; two 
ships had already been wrecked on those shoals. 1 Only 
one of the islands in the bay had drinking water, that 
of Arguim. 

Inland from Cape Branco was a place named Oden, 2 
distant about six days' camel-journey; it was not en- 
closed with walls, but was a resort for the Arabs and 
caravans trading between Timbuktu and other places 
belonging to the negroes, and Barbary. The inhabitants 
lived on dates and barley; they drank the milk of camels 
and other animals, having no wine; they kept cows and 
goats, but no great number, as the soil was barren, and 
their cattle were small compared with those of Venice. 
The people were Mohammedans, and great enemies 
of Christianity; they had no settled habitations, but 
wandered continually over the deserts, travelling be- 
tween the country of the negroes and Barbary. They 
went in great numbers, with long trains of camels, 
conveying copper, silver and other things from Barbary 
to Timbuktu and the country of the blacks, and bring- 
ing back in exchange gold and malaguette pepper, 3 
These people were tawny, and both sexes wore white 
tunics with red borders, without any linen underneath; 
the men had turbans like the Moors, and always went 
barefoot. Lions, leopards and ostriches abounded in 
these deserts, and Cadamosto thought the eggs of the 
last very good eating. 

1 Duarte Pacheco says the same. f Wadan, now in French territory. 
8 Grown at Benin; after the Portuguese reached this coast, they diverted 
the trade in pepper from the land route and carried it by sea to Lisbon. 

100 



FIRST VOYAGE OF ALVISE DA CADAMOSTO 

He speaks of the trading contract made by Henry at 
Arguim for ten years in the following manner. None 
vere to enter the gulf to trade with the Arabs who came 
:o the coast, excepting those who had a share in the 
contract; these possessed houses in the island, and 
factors to buy from and sell to the Arabs. Their mer- 
chandise consisted of cloths, silver, silk handkerchiefs, 
carpets, etc., but especially wheat, which was eagerly 
sought after; in return the Arabs gave slaves, brought 
from the lands of the negroes, and gold. 

The Prince had a fort built on the island to protect 
this trade, and the caravels of Portugal were constantly 
coming and going. The Arabs owned a great number of 
Barbary horses, which they took to the land of the 
negroes to barter for slaves, a good horse being often 
valued at twelve or fifteen slaves. They brought also 
Moorish fabrics of silk made in Granada and in Tunis, 
with silver and a variety of other things, for which they 
received in exchange a great number of slaves and a 
small quantity of gold. These slaves they took to Oden 
and there divided them; part went to Barghah, and 
thence to Sicily, and part to Tunis and the whole coast 
of Barbary. The rest were taken to Arguim and there 
sold to the licensed Portuguese traders, who purchased 
every year 700 or 800 slaves to send home. Before the 
regulation of this traffic the Portuguese despatched 
every year four or more caravels to the Bay of Arguim, 
the crews of which landed at night, attacked the fishing 
villages, and carried off both men and women. They did 
the same all along the coast from Cape Branco to the 
river Senegal, which divided the land of the Azenegues 
from that of the blacks. The former were tawny and 
inhabited the coast beyond Cape Branco, and their 
district was bordered by that of the above-named Arabs 

101 



THE PORTUGUESE PIONEERS 

of Oden. These lived on dates, barley and camel's milk, 
but also procured millet and beans from their neigh- 
bours the negroes, and thus supported life, for they re- 
quired but little. The Portuguese used to seize and sell 
them because they were the best kind of slaves; but when 
Cadamosto arrived, he found that peaceful trading had 
taken the place of slave-raids and that Prince Henry would 
not allow injury to be done to those people, because he 
hoped that they might be converted by kindness, as they 
were not well established in the faith of Mohammed. 

The Azenegues had a strange custom of covering 
their heads with a piece of linen, the end of which fell 
over their faces, hiding the mouth and part of the nose; 
they did this because they said that the mouth was an 
unseemly thing, which emitted eructations and bad 
breath, and therefore ought to be concealed, and Cada- 
mosto never saw their mouths uncovered, save when 
they ate. They had no chiefs among them, but any 
better off than the rest were treated with more deference 
and obedience. He found them a poor race, and the 
most lying and treacherous people in the world. They 
were of middle height and thin; they wore their black 
hair flowing down over their shoulders, almost like 
Germans, and anointed it daily with fish oil a habit 
which caused a most offensive smell, but was looked 
upon as a mark of gentility. They had never heard of 
Christians, except the Portuguese who had made war 
on them for thirteen or fourteen years, and when they 
saw the first sails or ships on the sea they thought them 
to be great birds with white wings. 

About six days' journey from Oden there was a 
place named Tegazza, whence rock-salt was obtained 
in great quantities, and carried by the Arabs and 
Azenegues on the backs of camels to Timbuktu, and 

102 



FIRST VOYAGE OF ALVISE DA CADAMOSTO 

thence to Melli, in the empire of the negroes, where it 
was sold at 200 or 300 miticals 1 the load, in exchange for 
gold. The Melli country was very hot, and the pasture 
very bad for quadrupeds, so that three-quarters of those 
which went with the caravans perished. Thus there were 
no cattle in the country, and many of the Arabs and 
Azenegues fell ill and died from the heat. They said that 
from Tegazza to Timbuktu was forty days* journey on 
horseback, and from Timbuktu to Melli thirty days'. 
In reply to enquiries as to what the merchants of Melli 
did with the salt, the natives said that a small portion 
was used in their land, for as they were near the equinox, 
the excessive heat at certain times compelled them to 
consume it to purify their blood. 

Beyond Melli the heat was too great for camels, so 
that the rest of the salt was carried by negroes, in a long 
procession, each with a block on his head, and bearing 
in his hands two forks on which to rest the block when 
tired. In this way they reached certain waters and piled 
the salt in mounds, each marking his own pile, and then 
retired half a day's journey. Afterwards came another 
tribe of blacks (who would not allow themselves to be 
seen or spoken to) in large boats, as if from an island. 
They examined the salt, and put a quantity of gold 
beside each pile, and then retired, leaving the gold and 
salt together. When they left, the owners of the salt 
returned and took the gold, if they found it enough; if 
not, they again withdrew. The owners of the gold then 
came back and took the pile which was without it and 
put more gold beside the other piles, if they wished; if 
not they left the salt. And so the business was done, 
without either party seeing the other. 2 Cadamosto 

1 The mitical was equal to about a ducat and a half. 
Herodotus (bk. iv, cap. 196) mentions a similar custom, and it still 

103 



THE PORTUGUESE PIONEERS 

enquired of the merchants why the Emperor of Melli, 
being a great and powerful lord, had not tried to dis- 
cover who these people were. They replied that not 
long ago the attempt had been made, and four of the 
blacks captured in order to bring them before him. 
Three had been released, but the fourth would not utter 
a word, either not understanding them, or resolving not 
to speak; nor would he eat, so that after four days he 
died. The Emperor was greatly vexed at the result, and 
asked those who made the captures what size the blacks 
were and they said that they were very dark and well 
made, taller than themselves by a hand's-breadth, and 
had a long lip thick and red, with blood running inside it, 
but the upper was small ; thus they shewed their gums 
and their teeth were large, and they had two on each side 
of extraordinary size. Their eyes were black, and very 
open, which gave them a fierce and savage look. After 
the capture and death of this negro, the others were so 
much offended that for three years they did not come 
with gold to buy the salt; and when they returned the 
blacks of Melli concluded that they found they could 
not exist without the salt, for it kept their lips from 
putrefying. The number of the witnesses to this story 
convinced Cadamosto of its veracity. 

The gold taken to Melli was divided into three parts : 
the first was sent by caravan to a place called Cochia, 1 
which was on the road to Syria and Cairo; the two 
others to Timbuktu, whence the one was sent to Tuat 
in the Western Sahara, and so to Tunis ; the other part 
to Oden, and thence to Oran and Ona in Barbary, 
within the Strait of Gibraltar, and to Fez, Morocco 

exists in countries so remote from each other as the Belgian Congo and 
Sumatra. 

1 Kukia, the ancient capital of the Songhay empire, on the Niger near Gao. 

104 



FIRST VOYAGE OF ALVISE DA CADAMOSTO 

(Marrakesh), Arzila, Safi, and Messa outside the Strait. 
It was there bought by Italians, in exchange for a 
variety of merchandise. This gold was the best product 
of the land of the Azenegues, and some of that which 
went to Oden was carried to the coast and sold to the 
Portuguese at Arguim island. 

The Azenegues had no coin, doing their trade by 
barter, but in some of the inland towns they and the 
Arabs used cowries which were brought from the 
Levant to Venice ; the gold was sold by the mitical^ as in 
Barbary. The inhabitants of that desert had neither 
religion nor natural lord; the women were brown, and 
they had little petticoats which were brought from the 
country of the negroes, and some wore these without 
any other dress. Those who had the longest breasts 
were considered the most beautiful, and to develop 
them, when they reached the age of sixteen or seven- 
teen, they had them bound tightly with a cord, so as to 
break them and make them hang down; and by fre- 
quently pulling these cords they made them grow so 
long that they sometimes reached the navel. These 
people rode on horses like the Moors, but they could 
not keep many on account of the bareness of the land 
and because the great heat did not let them live long. 
There were no rains, except in August, September and 
October. In some years a great number of locusts ap- 
peared, as long as a finger and of a red and yellow colour, 
larger than grasshoppers, and they rose in the air in such 
numbers as to hide the sun, and for ten or twelve miles 
nothing else could be seen on the earth or in the air ; they 
destroyed everything where they passed. These creatures 
came only once in three or four years, or the country 
would have become unfit for habitation. When Cada- 
mosto was there he saw countless numbers on the shore. 



THE PORTUGUESE PIONEERS 

After leaving Cape Branco he went on to the river 
Senegal, which (he says) was discovered five years 
before his voyage by three of Henry's caravels. A 
commercial treaty had been made with the blacks, so 
that in his time many ships went there. 1 It was more 
than a mile wide at the mouth, and deep, and a little 
farther on had another entrance, and between the two 
there was an island. There were sandbanks at each 
mouth, and reefs in the sea, extending about a mile 
from the shore. The tide rose and fell every six hours 
and extended more than sixty miles up the river, as he 
learned from Portuguese who had ascended it in their 
caravels. On entering the river, it was necessary to go 
with the tide, to avoid the sand-banks and reefs. It was 
380 miles from Cape Branco; the coast was nearly all 
sandy, and was called the Anterote coast, and belonged 
to the Azenegues, 

Cadamosto was surprised to find so great a difference 
between the inhabitants on the two sides of the river. 
On the south side the people were very black, stout and 
well made, and the country verdant, well wooded and 
fertile, while, on the north side, the men were thin, 
tawny and short, and the country dry and sterile. This 
river was said by learned men to be a branch of the 
Gihon, which came from the Terrestrial Paradise. The 
ancients named this branch Niger, and said that after 
watering Ethiopia it ran westward, and, dividing into 
several branches, fell into the ocean; the Nile was 
another branch, which flowed through Egypt, and fell 
into the Mediterranean. This at least was the opinion of 
travellers. 2 

1 The Senegal was found in 1445. 

1 Cadamosto shared the prevailing confusion between the Nile, Niger and 
Senegal. 

I O6 



FIRST VOYAGE OF ALVISE DA CADAMOSTO 

The land of the negroes on the Senegal was the first 
of those of lower Ethiopia, 1 and the people were called 
Jaloffs. The country was quite flat as far as Cape Verde, 
which was the highest land on the whole coast, and was 
400 miles from Cape Branco. The kingdom of Senegal 
was bounded on the east by the country of Tucusor, on 
the south by the kingdom of Gambia, on the west by 
the ocean, and on the north by the river. When Cada- 
mosto was there, the King of Senegal was named 
Zuccolin, and he was twenty-two years of age. The suc- 
cession was not hereditary, but the nobles chose a king 
from among their number, who remained on the throne 
as long as he pleased them. Sometimes they dethroned 
him by force, at others he made himself powerful enough 
to resist them, but his position was not firm like that of 
the Sultan of Cairo. His people were poor and ferocious; 
they had no walled towns, only miserable villages, with 
houses of reeds. They did not build them with walls, 
because they had neither mortar nor stone, and the 
kingdom was very small, being only about 200 miles 
square. 

The negroes professed Mohammedanism, but were 
not so strict as the white Moors ; the nobles had received 
some instruction in that faith from the Azenegues or 
Arabs, but since they had become acquainted with 
Christians they had less belief in it. 

These people usually wore nothing but goats 1 skins 
made in the shape of breeches, but some of them, and 
especially the nobles, had shirts of cotton, for that tree 
grew there and the women spun them a hand's-breadth 
wide. They did not know how to make it wider, and 
were obliged to sew several pieces together when they 
required a greater width; these shirts reached half-way 

1 The greater part of Africa was then included in the name Ethiopia. 

107 



THE PORTUGUESE PIONEERS 

down the thigh, and had wide sleeves which covered 
Half the arm. Besides these, they had breeches of the 
same cloth, which reached to the instep, and were 
exceedingly broad, some of them containing thirty or 
even forty hand's-breadths of cloth, which hung in 
many folds like a sack in front and behind, reaching to 
the ground. The women wore nothing above the waist, 
whether married or not, and below they had a short 
cotton petticoat going to the middle of the leg. Both 
sexes went barefoot, and wore nothing on their heads; 
their hair was well dressed, and fastened up tastefully, 
though it was very short. The men worked, like the 
women, at spinning, washing and other things. 

After having passed the river Senegal, Cadamosto 
reached the country of Budomel, 1 about fifty miles 
farther, which was flat all along the coast. He stopped 
there because he had heard from the Portuguese that 
the ruler was an honourable man, who paid for what he 
bought, and because he had on board the caravel some 
Spanish horses, which were much valued by the negroes, 
as well as linen cloths, Moorish silks and other merchan- 
dise. Having anchored at a place called the Palma de 
Budomel, he sent his black interpreter on shore to say 
that he had goods to dispose of. 

Soon the negro king appeared with fifteen horsemen 
and a hundred and fifty footmen and invited Cada- 
mosto to land, which the latter did, and was well re- 
ceived. He offered the king seven horses and other 
merchandise to the value of about 300 ducats. The 
king asked him to stay at his house, which was twenty- 
five miles inland, promising to pay him in slaves, and 
before he set out, presented him with a young girl to 
serve in his cabin ; she was very beautiful because very 

1 Bor-damel='KiTig Darnel. Budomel was ruler of Cayor. 
108 



FIRST VOYAGE OF ALVISE DA CADAMOSTO 

black. The king also supplied him with horses and all 
things necessary for the journey, and when they were 
within four miles of his house he consigned him to the 
care of one of his nephews named Bisboror, the lord of 
a neighbouring village, who received him and enter- 
tained him honourably. 

Cadamosto remained there twenty-eight days, 1 made 
frequent visits to the king and saw much of the 
customs of the country. He had still more opportunity 
for this when he was obliged to return to the Senegal 
by land, for the weather was so stormy that, to embark, 
he had to order his ship to come to the entrance of 
the river. When he wanted to send word to his men 
to meet him, he asked if any of the negroes were 
good swimmers and had the courage to take a letter 
to the vessel three miles out. Many said yes, but 
he thought it impossible on account of the high seas, 
the wind and the sand-banks, nevertheless two men 
offered themselves. He asked them what he should give 
them for the enterprise, and they replied two maravedis 
of tin apiece, and at once entered the water. *I cannot 
describe', says Cadamosto, 'the difficulty they had to 
pass the sand-banks in so furious a sea. Sometimes I lost 
sight of them, and often I thought they were swallowed 
up by the waves. At last one of the two could no longer 
resist the buffeting of the sea and turned back, but the 
other held on, and after battling for more than an hour, 
crossed the bank, carried my letter to the ship, and 
returned with an answer; whence I conclude that the 
negroes of that coast are the best swimmers in the 
world.* 

1 He says that it was in November, but this must be a printer's or copyist's 
error; he left Portugal in March and, after visiting Budomel, met Usodimare 
in June. 

IO9 



THE PORTUGUESE PIONEERS 

The negro nobles had neither castles nor cities; the 
king himself possessed nothing but villages with reed 
huts, and Budomel only ruled over a part of that king- 
dom, which was small. Those lords did not owe their 
rank to wealth of treasure or money, for they had 
neither, but the ceremonies used with them and their 
retinues entitled them to the name, because they were 
reverenced and feared more than grandees in Europe. 
Like the others, Budomel possessed no palace, but had 
a certain number of villages which had been assigned 
to him and his wives, and these he visited in succession. 
The place in which Cadamosto stayed contained be- 
tween forty and fifty houses of reeds, built close to each 
other in a circle, encompassed by hedges and screens of 
large trees, with two or three passages for entrance, and 
each house had an enclosed court. Budomel had nine 
wives in this place, and more or less in his other villages. 
Each wife had five or six young girls for her service, 
with whom their lord was permitted to live as with his 
wives, who did not consider this an injury, because it 
was the custom. Both sexes were very lecherous and the 
men very jealous, so that they would not let anyone enter 
the house of their wives and they did not trust even their 
own sons. 

Budomel had always about 200 negroes in attendance 
upon his person, and there were a number of people 
who came to him from different places. Between the 
entrance of his house and his own private apartment 
there were seven courts, and in the midst of each was a 
large tree, to shade those who waited for an audience; 
in these courts his retinue were distributed according to 
their rank. Few dared approach him except the Chris- 
tians and Azenegues, who had more freedom in this 
respect than his own subjects. He maintained great 

no 



FIRST VOYAGE OF ALVISE DA CADAMOSTO 

haughtiness and gravity, and only shewed himself for 
one hour in the morning, and again for a short time in 
the evening, near the door of the outermost court. 

He used great ceremony in his audiences, for how- 
ever high the rank of a man might be and even if he 
were a relation, the latter went down on both knees on 
entering the door of the court, with his forehead on the 
earth, and cast sand over his head and shoulders, being 
quite naked. He remained a long time in this posture, 
sprinkling himself with sand, and then, dragging him- 
self forward, he approached his lord and, when about 
two paces away, stopped and offered his petition, but 
never ceased from throwing sand over himself, all in 
token of humility. The reply was given in two words 
and with scarcely a glance towards him. Cadamosto 
must have witnessed this scene several times, and 
observes that even if God Himself came on earth, He 
could not have received greater reverence. He put it 
down to fear, because the people knew that for a slight 
fault their lords would seize their wives and children 
and sell them for slaves. 

Budomel welcomed Cadamosto, and allowed him to 
enter his mosque at the hour of prayer. The Azenegues 
and Arabs he had with him, who, like priests, instructed 
him in the law of Mohammed, were summoned to 
attend, and Budomel performed his orisons in the 
following manner. Standing up, he raised his eyes to- 
wards heaven, then walked forward two steps, uttered 
a few words in a low tone, and prostrated himself on the 
ground, which he kissed respectfully; in this he was 
followed by the Azenegues and the rest of his retinue. 
He repeated these actions and continued in prayer about 
half an hour, and when he had finished he asked Cada- 
mosto what he thought of it, and desired him to give 

in 



THE PORTUGUESE PIONEERS 

him some idea of the Christian religion. Cadamosto says 
he told him, in the presence of the Arabs, that the Mo- 
hammedan religion was false, and that the Catholic was 
true and holy, which enraged the priests; but Budomel 
only laughed, and said that the faith of the Christians 
must be good, because God, who had bestowed such 
riches and knowledge on them, must have given them a 
good religion also. He added that he thought the 
Mohammedan religion was good also, and that the 
negroes must have a better chance of salvation than the 
Christians, because God being just, and having given 
the Christians so many advantages in this world that 
they had a paradise here, and so few to the negroes, the 
latter ought to have it in the next world. Budomel 
shewed much good sense and reflection in his remarks, 
and took pleasure in conversing about religion, and 
Cadamosto thought he would easily have been induced 
to embrace Christianity, had he not been afraid of offend- 
ing the people. His nephew told Cadamosto this, and 
took delight in hearing him speak of the faith. 

The table of Budomel was supplied in the same 
manner as already related of the King of Senegal ; the 
nobles ate upon the ground, like beasts, and no one 
might eat with them, save the Moors who instructed 
them in the law. The common people ate in companies 
of ten or twelve, round a basket full of meat, in which 
they all put their hands ; they took little at a time, but 
had four or five meals daily. 

During his stay on land, he went two or three times 
to a market or fair, which was held on Mondays and 
Fridays in the meadow near, and attended by numbers 
of both sexes from five or six miles round. There he 
came to know the poverty of the people, as shewn by 
their merchandise, which consisted of cotton in small 

112 



FIRST VOYAGE OF ALVISE DA CADAMOSTO 

quantities, nets and cotton cloths, vegetables, oil, 
millet, wooden bowls and palm mats. They often 
brought gold dust, though in very small quantities ; but 
they had no money, and all the traffic was by barter. 
The niggers came to look at Cadamosto as at a spec- 
tacle. They had never seen a Christian, and were equally 
surprised by his white skin and dress in the Spanish 
style, and some of them touched his hands and arms and 
rubbed him with saliva, to find out if his whiteness was 
paint or real flesh. His object in going to these markets 
was to see if any quantity of gold was brought there. 

Horses were valued by the negroes because they were 
difficult to obtain. The Arabs and Azenegues imported 
them from Barbary, but the great heat soon killed them; 
besides, the beans, leaves and millet, which were their 
only food, made them very fat. A good horse with har- 
ness was worth from nine to fourteen slaves, and when 
a noble purchased one he went to the sorcerers, who 
lighted a fire of dried herbs, over the smoke of which 
they held the horse by the bridle, and uttered their 
charms. Next they anointed him with oil, shut him up 
for eighteen or twenty days, so that no one might see 
him, and tied round his neck little Moorish figures 
covered with red leather, in the belief that these pro- 
tected him in war. 

The negro women were very gay, especially the 
young ones, and very fond of singing and dancing; 
their time for dancing was at night, by moonlight. 

Nothing caused so much astonishment to the natives 
as the discharges of cross-bows and bombards from the 
caravel. Cadamosto caused a bombard to be fired when 
some of the negroes were on board, the noise of which 
terrified them extremely; but they were still more sur- 
prised when they were told that one discharge could 

113 8 



THE PORTUGUESE PIONEERS 

kill ioo men, and declared that it could only be the 
work of the devil. They were delighted with the sound 
of the bagpipes, and thought it was a living animal 
which sung the different tunes. Seeing their simplicity, 
Cadamosto placed the instrument in their hands, and 
when they saw that it really was artificial, they said it 
must be made by God, since it emitted such sweet and 
varied sounds. Everything about the vessel excited 
their admiration, and they thought the eyes painted on 
the prow of the vessel were real eyes, by which it saw its 
way through the water, and held the Europeans as great 
magicians and almost equal to the devil himself, since 
travellers by land found it difficult enough to keep the 
right road from one place to another, while they, in 
their vessels, could find their way on the sea, however 
distant they might be from the land. A lighted candle 
also seemed to them a wonder, and when Cadamosto 
made some candles before their eyes and lighted them, 
they said that the white people knew everything. They 
had two kinds of musical instruments ; one was a sort 
of Moorish drum, the other a kind of violin with two 
strings, played with the fingers, but there was little 
music to be got out of them. 

After his sojourn in Budomel's country, Cadamosto, 
as he had bought some slaves, resolved to go on to Cape 
Verde and make further discoveries, for he -had heard 
from Prince Henry (who received information from 
time to time about Negro-land) that beyond the Senegal 
there was another river called the Gambia, and negroes 
who had been to Portugal said it contained gold and 
that whoever went there would return rich. Allured by 
this prospect, he took leave of Budomel, and was about 
to set sail, when one morning two vessels appeared 
which proved to belong, the one to Antoniotto 

114 



FIRST VOYAGE OF ALVISE DA CADAMOSTO 

Usodimare, a Genoese, 1 and the other to some squires 
of Henry. They were going together beyond Cape 
Verde to try their luck and make discoveries, and as 
Cadamosto had the same object, he joined them and the 
three caravels sailed towards the south, keeping sight of 
land, and the day following they came to the cape. The 
name Cape Verde had been given it by the Portuguese 
discoverers because they found it covered with trees 
which never lost their verdure; it projected far into the 
sea, and had two small mountains at the point, and 
around it were many villages of the Senegal negroes, 
consisting of reed huts. Joined to it were sand-banks, 
extending for half a mile into the sea. After doubling 
the cape, the ships came upon three uninhabited islands 
filled with large trees; they anchored at the largest, 2 
hoping to take in water, but were disappointed. How- 
ever, they found quantities of birds' nests and eggs of 
an unknown kind, and spent a day there fishing and 
made large hauls ; some of the fish weighed twelve or 
fifteen pounds, and this was in June. The following day 
they continued their course, always in sight of land, and 
beyond the cape found a gulf. The coast was low, and 
covered with fine large trees, which were always green, 
and grew so close to the sea that they seemed to be 
drinking from it. The prospect was so beautiful that 
Cadamosto declared that he had never seen anything to 
compare to it; the land was watered by many rivers and 
small streams, but as it was impossible for the vessels to 
enter, they could not take in water. 

Beyond the gulf, the coast was peopled by two nations 
of negroes, the Barbacini and the Serreri, both inde- 

1 For biographical details about this man (who has been erroneously 
supposed by some writers to be the same person as Antonio da Noli on the 
ground that the name Usodimare merely indicates a profession) <uide Caddeo, 
op. cit. p. &7. 2 Goree. 



THE PORTUGUESE PIONEERS 

pendent of the King of Senegal ; they had no distinctions 
of rank among them, but only of personal qualities. 
They were idolaters, lawless, and very cruel, and fought 
with poisoned arrows, the least scratch of which that 
fetched blood caused instant death. They were very 
black and very well made. The country was thickly 
wooded and full of lakes and rivers, and could only be 
approached through very narrow defiles, which had 
helped them to preserve their independence. The kings 
of Senegal had often tried to conquer them, but had 
always been foiled by the poisoned arrows and natural 
difficulties. 

Running down the coast with a favourable wind, they 
discovered the mouth of a river, about a bow-shot in 
width and very shallow, and called it the Barbacini, 
which name it bears in Cadamosto's chart. It was sixty 
miles from Cape Verde. They continued to follow the 
coast day after day, anchoring each evening four or five 
miles from the shore, and at sunrise they hoisted sail, 
keeping a man at the masthead, and two in the fore part 
of the vessel, to watch for rocks and sand-banks. Finally 
they arrived at the mouth of another river as large as the 
Senegal, which was so beautiful, with trees growing 
down to the water's edge, that they anchored and deter- 
mined to send one of their negro interpreters on shore. 
Each ship had some on board whom they had brought 
from Portugal. These men had been sold as slaves to 
the first Portuguese navigators and had become Chris- 
tians and learned the language, 1 and had now come out 
with the promise that if they supplied other slaves they 
would obtain their freedom. Lots were drawn to find 
which of the three ships should land one of these in- 
terpreters, and it fell on that of the Genoese. He de- 

1 Portuguese. 

116 



FIRST VOYAGE OF ALVISE DA CADAMOSTO 

spatched a boat with orders to his people not to approach 
nearer than necessary to land the interpreter, who was 
to obtain information respecting the condition of the 
country and if it contained gold. They set him on shore, 
and when they had put off to a little distance, a number 
of armed negroes, who had been waiting in ambush, 
advanced to meet him. After some talk, which the men 
in the boat did not hear, they attacked him furiously 
and killed him before he could be rescued. When those 
in the ships heard the news, they thought that a people 
who had shewn themselves so cruel to one of their own 
countrymen would be still more barbarous to strangers, 
and continued their course along the coast, which 
increased in beauty and verdure the farther they went, 
but was very flat. 

At length they came to the mouth of a very large 
river, which at the narrowest part was not less than three 
or four miles wide, so that the ships could enter it with 
safety, and the next day they judged they had reached 
the much desired country of Gambia. They sent on the 
smallest caravel, well equipped with men and arms, to 
sound the river, and if they found water enough for the 
larger vessels to follow they were to signal. Finding 
that it was four feet deep, they did so and resolved to 
send up armed boats with the caravel, with instructions 
that if the negroes came to attack them they were to 
return without fighting, because, their object being to 
establish peaceful trade, they could only do this by 
using art and not by force. Two miles up the river the 
boats found sixteen feet of water. The banks of the 
river were extremely beautiful and covered with magni- 
ficent trees, but, as they proceeded, it became so winding 
that they did not care to go farther. As they turned 
back, they saw, at the entrance of a small river which 

117 



THE PORTUGUESE PIONEERS 

ran into the large one, three canoes made each of a 
single piece of wood. As the men in the boats did not 
know the intentions of the negroes and had heard that 
the people of Gambia used poisoned arrows, they rowed 
back with great speed, according to their instructions, 
but when they got near to the caravel, the blacks were 
only a bow-shot behind them. They were about twenty- 
five or thirty in number, and seemed much surprised at 
the sight of the caravel, as though neither they nor their 
ancestors had seen the like, and refused to come near 
and finally rowed off. 

The following day the two caravels, which had re- 
mained at the mouth of the river, took advantage of the 
wind and tide to enter it and rejoin their companion. 
After going four miles up, one after the other, they per- 
ceived that they were being followed by fifteen canoes, 
so they turned upon the negroes, and thinking that their 
arrows might be poisoned, covered themselves as well 
as they could and took up their posts and waited. The 
canoes in two files surrounded the prow of Cadamosto's 
ship, which was in advance of the rest, and the oarsmen, 
raising their oars in the air, stared at the Europeans as 
at a portent. They numbered from 130 to 150, dark 
and handsome men, clad in white cotton shirts and 
wearing white hats with a plume, like Germans, except 
that the hats had a white wing on each side and a feather 
in the middle, as though they were warriors. At the 
prow of each canoe was a negro, with a round shield 
that seemed made of leather. No sign of hostility was 
made on either side until the other caravels approached, 
and then the negroes laid down their oars and, without 
any salutation, took to their bows and discharged their 
arrows. The three caravels, seeing themselves attacked, 
fired off four cannon, the noise of which astonished the 

118 



FIRST VOYAGE OF ALVISE DA CADAMOSTO 

negroes so much that they threw down their bows, and 
looked on all sides in the greatest wonder at the stones 
striking the water. When the noise ceased, they lost 
fear, and resumed their fire, coming within a stone's- 
throw of the ships, whereupon the sailors got to work 
with cross-bows, the first shot from which hit a negro in 
the breast and killed him; but they continued their 
attack until a great number of them had been slain, 
without a single Christian being wounded. When the 
negroes saw their losses, all the canoes fell upon the 
smaller caravel, which had few men and those ill-armed, 
and a battle ensued. Seeing this, Cadamosto placed the 
smaller vessel between the other two, and gave a general 
discharge of artillery, which caused the enemy to draw 
off, and the three caravels were then made fast to each 
other by a chain and a single anchor was let down which 
held them firmly. 

Afterwards Cadamosto and his companions sought to 
have speech with the natives, and finally the interpreters, 
by shouts and signs, induced one of the canoes to ap- 
proach. Then they asked them why they attacked 
strangers from a distant land who had come in peace to 
trade with them, as they had already done with the people 
of Senegal, and who had brought presents from the King 
of Portugal for their king. The interpreters asked the 
name of their country, ruler and river, and invited them 
to come to the vessels and exchange merchandise. To 
this the negroes replied that they had heard of the 
arrival of the white people at Senegal, and that the in- 
habitants of this latter land must be bad men to have 
desired their friendship, for they themselves believed 
the Christians lived on human flesh, and only bought 
negroes to devour them. Therefore they would not 
agree to friendship but would kill the Christians if pos- 

119 



THE PORTUGUESE PIONEERS 

sible, and take their spoil to their sovereign, who lived 
three days' journey inland, and they said their country 
was called Gambia, On this the wind got up, and, seeing 
their ill-will, the caravels made sail against them, but 
they fled, and thus the conflict ended. 

The commanders then consulted as to whether they 
should sail further up the river, at least 100 miles, in 
the hope of finding better people, but the sailors were 
so anxious to return home that they all cried out that 
they would not agree and had done enough that voyage. 
The captains had to submit to avoid trouble, sailors 
being obstinate men, and on the following day they set 
out on their homeward voyage to Portugal. 

All the time they remained at the mouth of the river, 
they saw the north star only once, when it seemed to be 
very low down over the sea, and even then only in clear 
weather. They also observed six other stars equally low; 

they were clear, brilliant and large and arranged thus 

* 
*****. They took them for the Southern Chariot, 1 but 

* 

did not see the principal star, nor could they have done, 
without losing sight of the north star. In the same 
place they found the night to be eleven and a half hours 
and the day twelve and a half early in July. The country 
was hot all through the year, though it had a winter 
from the beginning of July to the end of October, and 
then it rained every day, and the rain was accompanied 
by violent thunder and by lightning. This was the time 
when the negroes began to sow, as in Senegal, and their 
food was milk, flesh and vegetables. Cadamosto heard 
that in the interior even the rain was hot; there was no 
twilight as in Europe, for as soon as the shades of night 

1 The text reads U carro delT astro-, some have identified it with the 
Southern Cross. 

120 



FIRST VOYAGE OF ALVISE DA CADAMOSTO 

disappeared, the sun was seen, but for about half an 
hour it gave no light and was obscured as by smoke. 
Cadamosto and his comrades believed that the sudden 
appearance of the sun was due to the flatness of the 
country. 

Losses in business had driven Usodimare from home 
to try and repair his fortunes, and on his return to 
Lisbon from the voyage in which he met Cadamosto, 
he wrote a letter to his creditors, dated 12 December 
1455, describing his adventures. According to this 
account he had sailed in a caravel to the parts of Guinea 
and, after 800 miles, reached the river Gambia. 1 The 
fishermen attacked him with poisoned arrows which 
compelled him to turn back, but after making seventy 
leagues, he found a black chief who sold him thirty-one 
slaves, some elephants' teeth and parrots, and sent with 
him an ambassador to the King of Portugal. Usodimare 
told his creditors that he was charged by the King to 
take back the ambassador, who was to make a com- 
mercial treaty between the negro potentate and Portugal, 
and he would start in ten days. Full of hopes, he de- 
scribed the land to which he was going as possessing very 
good air and being very beautiful, and further reported 
having found there an Italian whom he believed to be 
a survivor of the Vivaldi expedition of 1291. This is 
obviously impossible, and though the man might have 
been a descendant, it is more likely, as the Viscount de 
Santarem thinks, that he was one of the members of 
Vallarte's expedition of 1447. 

1 Usodimaie's letter is in Caddeo, op. cit. p. 153. 



121 



CHAPTER VII 

SECOND VOYAGE OF CADAMOSTO DIOGO 
GOMES AND ANTONIO DA NOLI DIS- 
COVERY OF THE CAPE VERDE ISLANDS 

IN the next year Cadamosto, together with Usodi- 
mare, resolved to make a second voyage to the 
Gambia, and equipped two caravels for the purpose; 
and when Henry knew of this he gave the required 
permission and fitted out a caravel of his own to accom- 
pany them. 

The three ships set out from Lagos in the beginning 
of May, and the wind being favourable they reached 
the Canaries in a few days, and without stopping went 
on to Cape Branco. When they had sight of it they put 
farther out to sea, and the night following were caught 
by a storm from the south-west, and so as not to turn 
back they steered north-west during three days and two 
nights, and on the third day caught sight of land, to 
their surprise, for they did not know that any lay in that 
direction. Two men being sent to the mast-head saw two 
large islands, 1 the notice of which caused the company 
to give thanks to God who had led them to see new 
things. Thinking they might be inhabited, they sailed 
towards one of them, and having found good anchorage, 
put a boat out, but the men who landed found no sign 
of its being inhabited. The next day, to make quite sure, 

1 The Cape Verde islands, but, in view of their situation, Cadamosto's 
account of the course is clearly erroneous. 

122 



SECOND VOYAGE OF CADAMOSTO 

Cadamosto sent ten men on shore armed with cross- 
bows, with orders to ascend the highest part and see if 
they could find anything, or see other islands. They met 
with no signs of man, but found an immense number of 
pigeons, which allowed themselves to be taken by the 
hand; and from the mountain they descried three other 
large islands, one towards the north, and two in a south- 
ward direction* They thought they could see still more 
islands in the west farther out to sea, but Cadamosto did 
not care to go there, fearing to waste time, and because 
he thought they would be also wild and uninhabited. 
But afterwards others, at the news of his discovery of 
the four islands, went farther and found that the islands 
numbered ten, and contained nothing but birds of 
various kinds and fish. 

The three caravels then went on their way and came 
in sight of the two other islands, and in one which 
appeared covered with trees they discovered the mouth 
of a river, and anchored there to get water for the ships. 
Some of the sailors landed and, following the river, 
came upon small lakes of salt, fine and white, of which 
they brought a great quantity to the vessel. The water 
was excellent and the sailors found many turtles, the 
upper shells of which were larger than a shield, and 
killed them and cooked them in different ways, observ- 
ing that they had formerly eaten some of the same sort 
in the Gulf of Arguim, but not so large. Cadamosto ate 
them, and found them like veal and of good smell and 
taste, and he had a good number salted which proved 
useful on the voyage. At the mouth of the river and 
farther up they fished and found incredible numbers 
and great variety of fish, many being unknown to them. 
The river was a bow-shot wide, so that a ship ,of 150 
tons could get into it easily. 

123 



THE PORTUGUESE PIONEERS 

They remained two days to refresh themselves, and 
named the first island on which they had landed Boa- 
vista, because it was the first they had seen in those 
parts; and the other, which seemed the largest of the 
four, they called Santiago, because they came to anchor 
there on the feast of St. James and St. Philip, 1 

After this they set sail for Cape Verde, and in a few 
days came in sight of land at a place, the Two Palms, 
between Cape Verde and the river Senegal, and after 
passing the cape they reached the river Gambia, which 
they entered and, without opposition on the part of the 
negroes, proceeded up it by day, always sounding. The 
native canoes which they met did not dare to approach. 
Ten miles up they anchored one Sunday near an island, 
where they buried one of the sailors, who had died 
of fever, and named it after him, S. Andr, and then 
continued their course, followed by some canoes at a 
distance; and Cadamosto's interpreters called to them 
that they might approach with safety and shewed them 
stuffs, offering to give them some. 

At length, overcoming their fears, they came near to 
his caravel, and one of the negroes went on board and 
understood the interpreter. He was very much astonished 
at the vessel, and especially at the navigation with sails, 
for they were only accustomed to use oars, and knew 
of no other means. The colour and dress of the Euro- 
peans amazed him, for his people were mostly naked, 
though some wore white cotton shirts. Cadamosto says 
he received him with great kindness, giving him many 
trifles with which he was well content. He asked him 
many questions and learnt that the country was called 

1 According to Cadamosto, but it has been remarked that this feast is on 
i May, which was about the time they started, and the feast of St. James 
the Great, 25 July, has been suggested as a substitute. 

I2 4 



SECOND VOYAGE OF CADAMOSTO 

Gambia, and that the chief ruler was named Forosan- 
goli, who lived about ten days' journey from the river, 
between the south and south-west, and was a vassal of 
the Emperor of Melli, head of all the negroes. There 
were many other lesser lords who lived near the river, 
and the native offered, if Cadamosto wished it, to take 
him to one named Batti-Mansa and induce him to be 
friendly. This offer pleased him greatly and he .took 
the man in his vessel up the river, until they reached the 
residence of Batti-Mansa, which was about sixty miles 
from the mouth. Cadamosto remarks that they sailed 
up the river in an easterly direction and saw many 
tributaries which flowed into it; the place where they 
anchored was much narrower than the mouth, which 
was about a mile in breadth. 

Cadamosto sent one of the interpreters with the negro 
to Batti-Mansa, carrying a fine silk garment in the 
Moorish style as a present, and bade him say that they 
had come by order of the King of Portugal, a Christian, 
to make friendship with him, and learn if he needed the 
goods of their country, which the King would send 
yearly. Hearing a good report of the strangers, Batti- 
Mansa sent some of his people to the caravel. Friend- 
ship was established, and European goods were ex- 
changed for slaves and some gold; but the latter was 
not equal in amount to the expectations raised by the 
accounts of the people of Senegal, who, being very poor 
themselves, thought it a great deal, while it seemed little 
to the Portuguese. Gold was more prized there than in 
Europe, but the negroes exchanged it for things of 
small value. 

The caravels remained there eleven days, during 
which many negroes came on board, some from curi- 
osity, others to sell their goods, cotton cloths, white, 

125 



THE PORTUGUESE PIONEERS 

striped and coloured, very well made, and gold rings. 
They also brought baboons and marmots, civet and 
skins of civet cat, all which they sold very cheaply; 
others came with fruits, especially dates, which the 
sailors ate, but which Cadamosto would not touch, 
fearing they were not wholesome. 

Every day fresh people differing in language visited 
the caravels, and canoes with both men and women 
were constantly going up and down the river from one 
place to another, like boats in Europe, but they only 
used oars and rowed standing, and always had a man 
to steer. They did not use rowlocks, but held the oars 
in their hands, and they were in the form of a half lance, 
about seven feet long, with a round board like a tray 
at the end. With these they impelled their canoes at a 
high speed, keeping close to the coast from one land 
to another, and there are many mouths of little rivers 
into which they entered and were safe. They rarely 
went far off, for fear of being captured by the neigh- 
bouring people and sold for slaves. At the end of eleven 
days Cadamosto and his companions resolved to return 
to the river's mouth, because many of them had begun 
to fall ill with fever. 

From what he had seen and been told about the 
people during his short stay, they were generally 
idolaters and had great faith in enchantments, but they 
all believed in a God, and some were Mohammedans, 
but only those who travelled about and traded with 
other countries. Their manner of life resembled that 
of the natives of the Senegal, and they had the same 
food, except that they ate rice and dogs' flesh, which 
Cadamosto had never heard of elsewhere. They dressed 
in cotton, which they had in abundance, while nearly 
all the natives of Senegal went naked; the women 

126 



SECOND VOYAGE OF CADAMOSTO 

dressed like the men, but were accustomed to tattoo 
their skins, when they were young, with a hot needle. 
The country was very hot, and the heat naturally in- 
creased to the south and was much greater on the river 
than on the sea, on account of the quantity of trees 
which grew everywhere. Their girth was out of pro- 
portion to their height, and Cadamosto saw one on the 
bank where they took in water which, though low, 
measured seventeen arm's-length at the foot; * the 
trunk was hollowed out and had spreading branches 
which gave great shade. Some of these trees were even 
larger and thicker, shewing that the land was fertile, 
because well watered. 

There were great numbers of elephants, and Cada- 
mosto saw three wild ones while his caravel was at 
anchor, and observes that the natives did not know how 
to tame them. The negroes hunted on foot with assegais 
and bows, and all their arms were poisoned. They 
sought out the animals in the forests and hid behind 
trees, and sometimes climbed up into them, and from 
their hiding-places discharged their poisoned weapons, 
leaping from tree to tree in pursuit, and the elephants, 
being very heavy animals, were struck many times 
without being able to defend themselves. 

In the river Gambia and other rivers of the country, 
besides the elephants there was an animal called the 
'horse-fish' 2 which is thus described by Cadamosto: 
'It is amphibious, and its body is as large as that of a 
cow, with very short legs and cloven feet; the head is 
the shape of a horse's with two big tusks like those of 
the wild boar, some two palms long. It comes out of the 
water, and walks like other quadrupeds.' Cadamosto 
says that it had not been seen in any part visited by 

1 The baobab. 8 Hippopotamus. 

127 



THE PORTUGUESE PIONEERS 



Christians, except perhaps on the Nile; he also records 
having met with bats three palms long or more, a 
number of parrots and a multitude of fishes, different 
from those of Europe. 

The sickness of the men compelled him and his 
comrades to leave the country of Batti-Mansa, and in 
a few days they sailed out of the river; and being three 
caravels and well furnished with provisions, they deter- 
mined to go farther along the coast. As the land 
stretched out far into the sea in the form of a cape, they 
took a westerly course to double it, but found the point 
of land was no cape to speak of, for the shore was quite 
straight beyond it. Nevertheless they kept at a distance 
because there were breakers at four miles from it, and 
had two men on the look-out, one at the prow and one 
at the mast-head, to watch for shoals, and only sailed 
by day with little canvas and great caution and cast 
anchor at night. They went in line and cast lots every 
day to decide which caravel should go first; and in 
this way they coasted along for two days, and on the 
third they discovered the mouth of a river about half 
a mile wide. Farther on they saw a little gulf, which 
seemed to be another river, but as it was late they cast 
anchor. 

The next morning they sailed on, and came to the 
mouth of another very large river, but somewhat 
smaller than the river Gambia, the banks of which were 
covered with trees of extraordinary size and beauty. 
They sent on shore two boats, with interpreters, to 
ascertain the name of the river and the ruler of those 
parts. These emissaries brought back word that the 
river was called Casa-Mansa, from the name of a negro 
chief who resided thirty miles up, but was away en- 
gaged in war with a neighbouring chief, so they de- 

128 



SECOND VOYAGE OF CADAMOSTO 

parted the following day. The distance from the river 
Gambia was about 100 miles. 

They continued their course, following the coast, 
until they came to a cape about twenty miles farther on, 
to which they gave the name of Cape Roxo, from the 
red colour of the earth. They next came to the mouth of 
a river, about a bow-shot in width, which they did not 
enter, but gave it the name of Rio de Santa Anna. 1 
Farther on they found another river of the same size, 
which they named S. Domingo, 2 and it was about fifty- 
five or sixty miles from Cape Roxo. 

A day's journey beyond, they came to the mouth of 
a river so wide that they thought it was a gulf. They 
were some time crossing, for it was twenty miles over. 
The south bank was covered with beautiful trees, and 
when they arrived there they discovered some islands 
out at sea, 3 and then cast anchor, resolving to gain in- 
formation about the country before they went on. The 
following day two canoes approached, the larger being 
as long as one of the caravels, containing more than 
thirty negroes, and the other about sixteen. All on 
board, seeing them come so quickly, took up arms; but 
when the negroes drew near, they raised a piece of 
white linen fastened to an oar, as if to ask for security. 
The Portuguese replied in the same manner, and the 
largest of the canoes came alongside Cadamosto's cara- 
vel, and its crew shewed great surprise at the sight of 
white men, the form of the vessel, and the masts and 
yards, which were a novelty to them. It was a great dis- 
appointment to find that none of the interpreters could 
understand the language of the natives. As the same 
was likely to happen farther on, it seemed useless 

1 The Cacheu. * The Mansoa. 

8 The Bissagos. 

129 9 



THE PORTUGUESE HONEERS 

to go farther, 1 and the commanders decided to turn 
back. 

During their stay of two days, the north star ap- 
peared to them very low and they met with an obstacle 
unknown elsewhere, for instead of the flux and reflux 
being six hours each, as at Venice and everywhere in 
the West, the tide rose in four hours, and took eight to 
subside. So great was its impetuosity when it came in 
that three anchors scarcely sufficed to hold each caravel. 
On one occasion the current forced them to set their 
sails, and not without peril, for it was far stronger than 
the sails with the wind. 2 

On the way back to Portugal, Cadamosto and his 
companions took a course towards those islands which 
were distant about thirty miles from the mainland, and 
arrived there. Two of them were large and others 
small, the former being inhabited by negroes. The land 
was low and covered with tall and beautiful trees. They 
could not have speech with the people, because neither 
party understood the other, so they pursued their 
course homewards and, God guiding them, arrived 
safely. Their discoveries are registered in some of the 
maps of Benincasa. 

The next voyages of which we have a record are two 
made by Diogo Gomes, a man attached to the house- 
hold of Prince Henry and afterwards superintendent 
of the palace at Sintra. He may perhaps be identified 
with the Gomes Vinagre, a youth of good stock, and 
servant of the Prince, mentioned by Zurara in chapter 
thirteen of the Chronicle of Guinea, for the word Vinagre 
appears to be a nickname and not a proper name. 

1 Evidently because trade was the main object of the expedition. 
1 The river was the Geba. 

130 



SECOND VOYAGE OF CADAMOSTO 

The account of his and other Henrician voyages in 
the form of notes reaches us in a roundabout way and 
goes far to explain the confusions and lack of dates. 
Gomes related his reminiscences to Martin Behaim, 
during the latter's stay in Portugal nearly twenty years 
after the last of the events. Behaim wrote down the 
narrative in Latin, and Valentim Fernandes, a German 
printer in Lisbon who issued the finest early printed 
Portuguese book, the Vita Christ^ included the tran- 
script in his collection of notices of Portuguese dis- 
coveries which are preserved in a codex in the Royal 
Library at Munich. 1 

Not long after the disaster of Vallarte, 2 the Dane, 
related in a previous chapter, the Prince equipped at 
Lagos a caravel, named Picanfo, appointing Diogo 
Gomes captain, together with two other caravels of 
which he made him captain-in-chief. The captain of one 
of these was Jo2o Gonf alvez Ribeiro, a servant of the 
Prince, and of the other, Nuno Fernandes de Baya, 
squire to Henry. To them he gave his usual orders to 
proceed as far as they could. 

After passing the river of S. Domingo and another 

1 This codex, containing De prima inventions Guineae and De insulis 
primo inventis in mart oceano occidentis, was described by Dr. Schmeller in 
a communication under the title fiber Falentim Fernandas AUma und seine 
Sammlung <von Nachrichten liber die Entdeckungen und Besitzungen der 
Portugiesen in Afrika und Asien bis z,um Jahre 1508, printed in Abhandhmgen 
derphihsophisch-philolog* Klasse der Koniglichen Bayerischen Akademie, Band 4 
(Munich, 1847: British Museum press mark A/C 713/6). 

Schmeller's text has mistakes due to Behaim, especially in the transcription 
of Portuguese proper and place names, and these were corrected by Gabriel 
Pereira, who translated the Latin into Portuguese and published it in the 
Boletim da Sociedade de Geographia de Ltsboa, Series XVII, No. i, 1899, 
p. 267 et seq. 

* Vallarte's voyage took place in 1448, so that if the first expedition of 
Diogo Gomes was in 1456 or 1458, both of which dates have been suggested, 
there was an interval of eight or ten years between them. 



THE PORTUGUESE PIONEERS 

great river called Fancasso 1 beyond the Rio Grande, 
they, like Cadamosto, encountered strong currents in 
the sea called macareo, so that no anchor would hold. 
The other captains, therefore, and their men were greatly 
alarmed, thinking that the whole ocean was like that, 
and they begged Gomes to return. At mid-tide the sea 
was very calm, and the natives came from the shore in 
their canoes and brought their merchandise, namely, 
cotton and silk cloth, elephants' teeth, and a quart 
measure of malaguette pepper in grain and in its 
pod, as it grows, with which Gomes was delighted. 
They went no farther because of the currents, and 
when at full tide the same thing happened they put 
back. 

They landed at a spot where there were many palm- 
trees, with their branches broken, and so tall that from 
a distance they looked like negro masts or spars, that is 
the Cape of Masts; and there they found more than 
5000 animals called in the negro language myongas, 
beasts a little larger than stags, which shewed no fear at 
sight of them. They also observed five elephants come 
out of a small river covered with trees. Three of them 
were large, with two young ones, and they were fleeing 
from the myongas. On the sea-shore they also saw many 
crocodiles' holes. They returned to the ships, and next 
day made their way to Cape Verde, and saw the broad 
mouth of a river, three leagues in width, which they 
entered, and from its size concluded that it was the river 
Gambia, as it proved to be. They entered it with the 
wind and tide in their favour, as far as a small island in 
the middle of the river, and there remained that night. 
In the morning, however, they went farther in and saw 
many canoes full of men, who fled at the sight of them, 

1 The Buba. 



SECOND VOYAGE OF CADAMOSTO 

for it seems they were the same who had slain Nuno 
Tristao and his men. 

The next day they saw, beyond a point in the river, 
some people on the right bank, to whom they went and 
made terms with them. Their chief was called Fran- 
gazick, and was the nephew of Farisangul, a prince of 
the negroes mentioned by Cadamosto. There Gomes 
received 1 80 pounds weight of gold, in exchange for his 
merchandise, such as cloth and necklaces. They told 
him that the negroes on the left bank would not hold 
intercourse with him, because they had slain some 
Christians, probably Vallarte and his friends. But 
the lord of that country had a certain negro, named 
Bucker, who was acquainted with the whole land 
of the negroes, and finding him perfectly truthful, 
Gomes asked him to accompany him to Cantor, and 
promised to give him a mantle and shirts and every 
necessity. 

They ascended the river, and Gomes then separated 
from the two caravels which had accompanied him, 
leaving the first in a harbour called Ollimansa and the 
second in another place. He then went on as far as 
Cantor, a large town on the banks. On account of the 
thick growth of trees on both sides of the stream, his 
vessel could proceed no farther, and he sent the 
negro whom he had brought with him to anounce 
that he had come to barter* When the report spread 
through the country round about that the Christians 
were at Cantor, the natives collected there from all 
quarters, from Timbuktu in the north, from the Serra 
Geley in the south, and from Kukia, a great city, sur- 
rounded by walls of baked tiles. Gomes heard from 
them that there was abundance of gold in that city, and 
that caravans of camels and dromedaries passed by there 

133 



THE PORTUGUESE PIONEERS 

with merchandise from Carthage and Tunis, from Fez, 
from Cairo and from all the lands of the Saracens, to 
exchange for gold. He also heard that the gold was 
brought from the mines of Mount Gelu, 1 on the 
opposite side of the Sierra Leone range, and that the 
range began at Albafur and ran southwards. This in- 
formation greatly pleased him. They told him that 
near the city was a great river named Emin, and also 
a great lake, but not very broad, on which were many 
canoes, like ships, and that the people on the opposite 
sides were constantly fighting with each other, those on 
the eastern side being white men. 

On his enquiring who ruled in those parts, they 
answered that the chief of the western side, which 
was inhabited by negroes, was named Sambegeny, 
and that the lord of the eastern side was called 
Semanagu. They added that a short time before they 
had had a great battle, in which Semanagu was the 
conqueror. A certain Moor of Tlemcen named Admedi 
told Gomes that he had been all through that land, and 
had been present at the battle. When Gomes after- 
wards related all these things to Henry, he remarked 
that a merchant in Oran had written to him two months 
before respecting the engagement which had taken 
place between Semanagu and Sambegeny, and he there- 
fore believed the account. This shews how widely Henry 
spread his net to obtain information, for it would not 
have been vouchsafed unless it had been asked or was 
known to be welcome. 

Gomes questioned the negroes as to the road which 
led to the countries containing gold, and asked 
who were their rulers. They said that the king's 
name was Bormelli, and that the whole land of the 

1 Probably tlie same as Geley mentioned above. 

134 



SECOND VOYAGE OF CADAMOSTO 

negroes on the right bank of the river was under his 
dominion and that he lived in the city of Kukia. They 
said further that he was lord of all the mines, and that 
he had before the door of the court of his palace a mass 
of gold just as it was taken from the earth, so large that 
twenty men could scarcely move it. The king always 
fastened his horse to it, and kept it, not for its value, but 
on account of its size. The nobles of his court wore in 
their noses and ears ornaments of gold. They said also 
that the parts to the west were full of gold-mines, and 
that the men who went into the pits to get the gold did 
not live long, on account of the impure air. The gold 
sand was afterwards given to women to wash the gold 
from it. 

He enquired the way from Cantor to Kukia, and was 
told that it ran eastward to Bormelli and Somandu, and 
from Somandu to Conmuberta and to Cereculle and 
other places, the names of which he forgot; and in these 
there was abundance of gold, as he could well believe, 
for he saw the negroes who went by those roads come 
laden with it. They also said that Farisangul was sub- 
ject to Bormelli, who was lord of the right bank of the 
river Gambia. 

While thus holding friendly intercourse with these 
negroes of Cantor, Gomes* men became worn out with 
the heat, and he therefore returned in search of the 
other two caravels. In that which had remained at 
Ollimansa nine men had died, the captain, Gongalo, 
was very ill and all the rest of his men except three 
were sick. He found the other caravel fifty leagues 
lower down towards the ocean, and in it five men had 
died ; so that he immediately withdrew and made for the 
sea, and went to the place where he had hired the negro 
traveller, and gave him what he had promised him. 

135 



THE PORTUGUESE PIONEERS 

He then learned that on the other (that is, the left 
or south) bank of the river there lived the great chief 
Batti-Mansa; and as he desired peace, he sent to him 
the negro who had been with him at Cantor. The chief 
agreed to meet him in a great wood on the banks, and 
brought with him an immense throng of people armed 
with poisoned arrows, assegais, swords and shields. 
Gomes went to him carrying some presents and biscuit 
and some Portuguese wine, for the natives had no 
wine except what was made from the date palm. In 
return he gave Gomes three negroes, one male and 
two female, and made merry with him, swearing by 
the living and only God that he would never again 
make war against the Christians, but that they might 
travel safely through his land and carry on their 
traffic. 

Being desirous of putting this to the proof, Gomes 
called a certain Indian named Jacob, whom Henry 
had sent with him in order that, in the event of his 
reaching India, he might act as interpreter, 1 and ordered 
him to go to Alcuzet, where on a former occasion he 
had been through the land of Jaloff to find the Serra 
de Gelu and Timbuktu. Jacob stated that Alcuzet 
was a very fertile land, having a river of sweet water 
and abundance of lemons, some of which he brought 
with him to Gomes. And the lord of that country sent 
the latter elephants' teeth, and four negroes, who 
carried the teeth to the ship. They came peacefully, 
and thus Gomes felt safe with them. Afterwards 
Gomes went to his abode, which was surrounded by 
many negro habitations made of seaweed, covered with 
straw, and there remained three days. Here were many 
parrots and panthers, and Gomes was given six skins 

1 This statement is worthy of being noted. 

136 



SECOND VOYAGE OF CADAMOSTO 

of the latter and had an elephant killed and its flesh 
carried on board the caravels. 

It was here that he learned that the outrage to the 
Christians had been due to a king called Nomi-Mansa. 
Gomes took great pains to make peace with him, and 
sent him many presents by his men in his own canoes, 
which were going for salt to his country, where it 
abounded. The king greatly feared the Christians, on 
account of the injury he had done them. Gomes then 
went into a harbour near the mouth of the river, and 
the -king often sent to him men and women to try 
whether he would do them harm, but, on the contrary, 
he always gave them a friendly reception. When the 
king heard this, he came to the river-side with a large 
force, and sitting down on the shore, sent for Gomes 
to approach, which he did, paying him all ceremonious 
respect. There he met a native 'bishop' who put 
questions with respect to the God of the Christians, 
and Gomes answered him, and then asked him about 
Mahomet, in whom they believed. What Gomes said 
pleased the king so much that he ordered the bishop 
within three days to take his departure out of his king- 
dom, and, rising to his feet, he declared that no one, 
on pain of death, must dare any more to utter the name 
of Mahomet; for there was no other God but the one 
in whom his brother, Henry, said that he believed. He 
then asked Gomes to baptise him; and so said also all 
the lords of his household, and his women likewise. The 
king himself declared that he would have no other name 
but Henry, and his nobles chose such names as Jacob 
and Nuno, and other Christian names. Gomes remained 
that night on shore with the king and his chiefs, but 
says that he did not dare to baptise them, because he 
was a layman. On the next day, however, he begged 

137 



THE PORTUGUESE PIONEERS 

the king with his twelve principal chiefs and eight of 
his wives to come to dine with him on board the 
caravel, which they all did unarmed ; and he gave them 
fowls and meat prepared after the Portuguese fashion, 
and wine, both white and red, as much as they pleased 
to drink. The delighted natives said to each other re- 
peatedly that no people were better than the Christians. 

Afterwards, when they were on shore, the king again 
desired Gomes to baptise him; but the latter answered 
that he had not received authority from the Supreme 
Pontiff. If, however, he so desired, he would convey 
his wishes to Henry, who would send a priest for the 
purpose. The king immediately wrote to ask Henry to 
send a priest and a noble to instruct him in the faith, 
and begged him also for a falcon for hunting for 
he wondered greatly when Gomes told him that the 
Christians carried a bird on the hand which caught 
other birds. He wished him also to send two rams and 
sheep, male and female, and a gander and goose and a 
pig, as well as two men who would know how to con- 
struct houses and build a mud wall round his city. 
Gomes promised that Henry would satisfy all these 
requirements, and at his departure the king and his 
people wept, so great was the friendship which had 
sprung up between them. 

But it happened that for two years no one went back 
to Guinea, because of King Afonso's expedition to 
Alcacer, in which Henry took part, so that he gave 
the matter no attention. 

After leaving Gambia, Gomes started back to Portugal, 
and sent one caravel ahead with those who were in the 
best health, while the other remained with him because 
many of the crew were sick. He ordered the captain of 
the first vessel, if he had a favourable wind, to go 

'38 



SECOND VOYAGE OF CADAMOSTO 

straight home, and if not, to wait for him at Arguim, 
but he himself sailed to Cape Verde. As he came near 
the seashore, he saw two canoes putting out to sea, 
and placing his vessel between them and the land, he 
went up to them, and in one of the canoes counted 
thirty-eight men. The interpreter came to Gomes and 
said in his ear that Bezeguichi, 1 lord of that land, a 
malicious man, was among them. Gomes made them 
come into the vessel, and gave them food and drink 
and presents; and, pretending that he did not know 
that he was the chief, said to him by way of trying 
him: 'Is this the land of Bezeguichi?' He said 'Yes'. 
Gomes replied: 'Why is he then so malignant against 
the Christians? It would be better for him to make 
peace with them, so that both might interchange 
merchandise, and that he might obtain horses, etc,, as 
Burbruck and Budamel and the other lords of the 
negroes do. Tell him that I have taken you in this sea, 
and for love of him have let you go freely on shore/ 
They were all well content, and Gomes told them to go 
into their canoes, which they did, and as they all stood 
there, he said to the chief: 'Bezeguichi, Bezeguichi, do 
not think that I did not know you. It was in my power 
to do with you whatever I wished, and since I have 
acted kindly by you, do likewise by our Christians/ 
With this they each went their way. 

A few days later, the Portuguese entered Arguim 
Bay and landed on the island called the Ilha de Gargas, 
which was uninhabited and only one league in circum- 
ference. On it they found an innumerable multitude 
of birds of every kind, and pelicans* nests and some 
dead pelicans. They killed as many birds as they could 

1 This man probably gave his name to the place which is often 
mentioned in the Portuguese voyages. 

139 



THE PORTUGUESE PIONEERS 

carry in the boat, and then sailed for Portugal, and on 
reaching Lagos found Henry there, who rejoiced greatly 
at their arrival. 

After the Prince returned from Alcacer, Gomes re- 
minded him of what King Nomi-Mansa had said, and 
Henry despatched a priest to remain with the king 
and instruct him in the faith, and with him a young 
man of his household named John Delgado. This was 
in the year 1458. 

At this point Gomes interrupts his narrative, as pre- 
sented to us by Valentim Fernandes, to speak of the 
death of Henry in 1460 and his burial, and then de- 
scribes his second voyage, which he says took place 
two years afterwards. Opinions differ as to whether the 
two years are to be counted from 1458 or from 1460. 
Most writers adopt the former calculation, but Pro- 
fessor Fortunate de Almeida 1 inclines to the latter, on 
the ground that Gomes would not relate events out 
of chronological order and that King Afonso gave in- 
structions for the equipment of the caravel for the second 
expedition, which goes far to prove that Henry was then 
dead, for in his lifetime he had the superintendence of 
such matters. It is not possible, however, to found an 
argument on the text, seeing that, as already stated, 
Gomes did not write it; and as we know that the Cape 
Verde islands were discovered in or before 1460, the 
second voyage of Gomes cannot have been later, if he 
took part in the discovery. 

On this expedition he carried with him ten horses 
and went to the land of the Barbacini, between Serreos 
and that of King Nomi-Mansa. Afonso V gave him 
authority over 'the shores of that sea/ so that all the 
caravels he found off the land of Guinea were to be 

1 Hisforia de Portugal, vol. ii, p. 101. 
140 



SECOND VOYAGE OF CADAMOSTO 

under his command; the king knew that there were 
some which carried arms to the Moors, and he ordered 
Gomes to seize them and bring them to Portugal. 
In twelve days Gomes arrived at Barbacini, where he 
met two caravels, one of Gon?alo Ferreira, a native of 
Oporto and a servant of Henry, who was conveying 
horses thither. The other caravel was commanded by 
Antonio da Noli, who was engaged in the same trade. 
This was in the port of Zaya. In the same place he 
found also Borgebil, late King of Jaloff, who had 
fled from fear of the King of Burbruck, who had 
taken his country from him. The merchants with their 
caravels had greatly damaged the traffic in those parts, 
for whereas the Moors used to give twelve negroes for 
one horse, they gave them now no more than six. Then 
Gomes summoned those captains, and on behalf of the 
King gave them seven negroes for one horse, but he 
himself exchanged every horse for fourteen or fifteen 
negroes ! While they were there, a caravel arrived from 
Gambia, which brought information that a certain 
man named de Prado was coming with a richly laden 
vessel. Thereupon Gomes fitted out the caravel of 
Gonfalo Ferreira, and ordered him in the King's 
name, on pain of death and confiscation of all his 
goods, to go to Cape Verde and to look out for that 
vessel, which he did, and took it, finding great booty 
in it. Gomes forthwith despatched the captain, to- 
gether with Gon?alo Ferreira, to the King, and wrote 
to him an account of these events. 

After this, Gomes and Antonio da Noli left Zaya, and 
sailed two days and one night towards Portugal, when 
they descried some islands 1 in the sea. As the former *s 
caravel was a quicker sailer than the other, he came first 

1 The Cape Verde islands. 



THE PORTUGUESE PIONEERS 

to one of those islands and saw white sand; and as it 
seemed to him a good harbour, he cast anchor there, 
followed by Noli. Gomes said that he wished to be 
the first to land and so he was. They found no sign of 
man, and called the island Santiago, the name it still 
bears. There was abundance of fish to be caught 
there, and on shore they saw many strange birds and 
streamlets of fresh water. The birds were so tame that 
they could be killed with sticks, and there were many 
geese there, and an abundance of figs, but they did not 
grow on the trees in the same manner as in Portugal ; 
for the latter grow near the leaf, but these all over the 
trunk from the foot of the tree to the top. These trees 
were very numerous and there was a great quantity of 
pasture. Gomes had a quadrant with him and wrote 
the altitude of the Arctic Pole on the table of the quad- 
rant, and found it more accurate than the chart. 'It is 
true', he says, 'that the course of sailing appears on the 
chart, but when you get wrong, you do not recover 
your true position/ 

Afterwards they sighted Palma, one of the Canary 
islands, and then went to Madeira. Though Gomes 
was anxious to get home, he was driven by a con- 
trary wind to the Azores; but Noli remained at 
Madeira, and having better weather he reached Por- 
tugal first and begged of the King the captaincy of the 
island of Santiago, which Gomes considered he had 
discovered. The King gave it to him, and he kept it 
till his death. Such is the fragmentary account of the 
two voyages of Diogo Gomes which has come down to 
us. The native chiefs have been exalted into kings and 
many of the places named are difficult to identify; for 
this and other reasons the text needs to be annotated 
by a West African expert. 

142 



SECOND VOYAGE OF CADAMOSTO 

Cadamosto and Gomes made no actual coastal ad- 
vance beyond Henry's previous explorers, but the first 
named and mapped the littoral more fully and, followed 
by the second, sailed up the rivers, and his notes on 
anthropology and botany, and the information which 
the two give of the trade routes, are of great interest. 

We see that Cadamosto and Gomes both claim to 
have discovered the Cape Verde islands ; moreover the 
former asserts that the news of what he had found led 
others there, while the latter says in effect that Noli 
robbed him of the fruits of his discovery. The rival 
claims are still a matter of debate between historians, 
and their conflicting views are set out by Signer Caddeo 
in his recent edition of Cadamosto. 1 Unfortunately the 
evidence of documents does not enable us to decide the 
controversy. From them we know that shortly before 
his death, on 18 September 1460, Henry gave the tem- 
poralities of five of the islands to the King and the 
spiritual dominion to the Order of Christ. 2 On 3 
December following, the King bestowed the five 
islands, and on 19 September 1462 all the twelve, on 
his brother Fernando, 3 and in the latter document five 
are asserted to have been found by Noli in Henry's life- 
time and the other seven by Fernando. In fact they were 
discovered by his squire Diogo Afonso in 146162. 
It was natural that the Infant should have endeavoured 
to make discoveries, because previously, on 1 7 Novem- 
ber 1457, the King had made him a gift of all he 
could find. 4 Lastly, a letter of King Manoel of 8 
April 1497 declares that Noli was the discoverer and 

1 Vide also Major, op. cit.j Senna Barcellos, Subsidies para a historia de 
Cabo Verde e Quint (Lisbon, 1899), vol. i, cap. i$ and Sir C. R. Beazley, 
Chronicle of Guinea, vol. ii, p. xciv et seq* 

2 Alguns Documentor, p. 27. 

9 Ibid. pp. 27 and 31. * Ibid. p. 22. 

H3 



THE PORTUGUESE PIONEERS 

coloniser of Santiago, for which reason he received 
the captaincy of part of it, and this afterwards went to 
his daughter. 1 

Passing from documents to the historians of the 
sixteenth century, we find that Barros, Antonio Galvao, 
Damiao de Goes and the Spanish chronicler Afonso de 
Palencia a attribute the discovery of the islands to Noli, 
though the first two differ in the dates. Barros mentions 
1461, Galvao 1462, which are inadmissible. Moreover 
Noll's name appears on Italian maps as their discoverer. 
The weight of evidence is therefore against Cada- 
mosto's claim, apart from the inaccuracies in his nar- 
rative, but it also to some extent invalidates that of 
Gomes, which no one seems to have remarked. If he 
was co-discoverer with Noli, it is strange that the his- 
torians above-mentioned, his own fellow-countrymen, 
should not have spoken of him and that he should not 
have obtained a reward for his work. 

Antonio da Noli settled with his brother Bartholomew 
and nephew Raphael at Ribeira Grande and founded 
there the first township, which later on became the 
capital of the district. In 1466 Afonso V granted the in- 
habitants of the island the right to trade with Guinea 
in slaves and other goods, which led to an increase of 
population and wealth, and in 1469 another branch of 
commerce attracted many vessels to the port of Ribeira 
Grande; two Spaniards from the Canaries discovered in 
Santiago a lichen used for dyeing and sought and ob- 
tained permission from the King to export it. On the 
death of the Infant Fernando in 1470, his wife Beatrice 
received the revenues in trust for her children and in 
1495 the islands reverted to the crown. It was not until 

1 Ibid* p. 90, 

* He also credits Noli with more than one voyage to West Africa. 
I 44 



SECOND VOYAGE OF CADAMOSTO 

about 1500 that the others were colonised, but already 
in 1513 and the two following years the island of 
Santiago exported a considerable amount of slaves, 
hides, skins, rice, ivory, Indian corn, wax and cotton. 1 

1 The figures and values are given by Senna Bar-cellos, op. cit., vol. i, 
pp. 72-75. 



10 



CHAPTER VIII 

LIFE AT CEUTA THE CONQUEST OF 
ALCACER HENRY'S DEATH AND CHARACTER 

THE history of the Portuguese in North -West 
Africa from 1415 to 1464 is related by Zurara in 
his Chronicles of Pedro de Menezes and his son Duarte 
de Menezes, 1 which are sequels to the Chronicle of 
Ceuta. For the first, the author used the official reports 
sent home, Pedro's letters and narratives written on 
the spot, and from them he was able to tell in detail the 
routes taken by the Portuguese in their incursions, the 
names of those who distinguished themselves on both 
sides, and even the nature of the wounds received by 
the combatants ; for the second, Zurara crossed to Africa 
and there spent a year in seeking information from natives 
as well as from his own countrymen. If full dates are 
lacking in his works as in those of Lopes, he explains 
the reason: it had not been the custom in Portugal to 
put the year on letters, but only the day and month. 

Pedro de Menezes succeeded in holding Ceuta from 
1415 to his death in 1437, that is for twenty-two years, 
against all the efforts of the Moors to dislodge him, and 
his personal prowess and that of his men form a chronicle 
of knightly deeds worth more than any of the fabulous 
romances of chivalry then in fashion. The city was twice 

1 Printed in the series Ineditos de Mstoria portuguesa, vols. i and ii (Lisbon, 
1792, 1793). Snr. Afonso de Dornellas has collected much information about 
those distinguished men in his Htstoria e Genealogia, vol. iv (Lisbon, 1916). 

146 



LIFE AT CEUTA THE CONQUEST OF ALCACER 

besieged by sea and land, and for sixteen years the 
governor never left off his coat of mail, so that it split 
in several places, as if it were of cloth. He was often 
obliged to fight twice in one day. The siege of 141 8 was 
raised by Prince Henry, who came with a large fleet, 
stayed three months and then desired to attack Gib- 
raltar, but refrained on the ground that its conquest 
belonged to Castile, and because his father, knowing his 
crusading instincts and perhaps aware of his ambition, 
sent him orders to return home. 

Foreigners repaired to Ceuta to see military service, 
to be admitted into the Order of Chivalry, or to fight 
duels, among them being an uncle of the Emperor 
Sigismund and many lesser persons. Warfare was 
carried on by sea as well as by land, for Pedro main- 
tained a small fleet; and some idea of the size of the 
Christian vessels may be formed from the remark of the 
chronicler that a foist was not fully equipped when it 
carried no more than fifty-three rowers. On land the 
Moors relied chiefly on ambushes and on their horse- 
men, their numerous foot soldiers being of little use, 
while the Portuguese owed their victories in the field 
to their knights, who, though few, wore armour, and to 
their crossbowmen. In the sieges they had to endure, 
their artillery did great execution, and they also mounted 
guns (irons) on their ships. 

It would be easy to pick out stirring incidents from 
the sieges of Ceuta by the Moors, and one is tempted to 
tell again the epic fight in the Strait between a Portu- 
guese caravel and a large pirate galley from Provence, 
which after a six hours' action was carried by boarding, 
to the joy of the slaves who toiled at the oars. But such 
events are exceptional, and we prefer to shew the daily 
round of military life in a frontier town, from the 

147 



THE PORTUGUESE PIONEERS 

Chronicle of Duarte de Menezes, entitled 'How Moors 
came to Ceuta and how D. Duarte saved his Brother- 
in-law from Death'. 1 

'A few days after the arrival at Ceuta of D. Fernando 
de Noronha, son-in-law of the Count of Viana, on the 
eve of St. Mary of September, the feast of her holy 
birth, 400 Moorish horsemen and 1000 foot came to 
the city. And as the Count was informed of everything 
his foes wanted to do against him, he had on the previous 
day forbidden anyone to go out of the city, because, said 
he, "I am certain that on one of these days Moorish 
horsemen and footmen will be here". And this he knew 
because he had his spies among them, and as the Moors 
are covetous folk, they give great informations for a 
small sum. 

'And when the day was well on, the Count sent for a 
squire of his called Alvaro Gil. "Go", said he, "by those 
watch-towers, but take care you pass no farther, for I 
know for certain that the Moors have already entered 
in, or will enter to-night, and do not put yourself in 
danger and us in trouble." Alvaro Gil was a good squire 
and attended to what the Count had told him, and as he 
began to scout near Aljazira, the Moors, either because 
they were tired, 2 or because the Divine judgement so 
willed it, commenced to discover themselves from all 
the ambushes in which they lay, each making for the 
city separately and they intended to seize Alvaro Gil; 
but he well knew the desire of his foes and had a good 
horse, which he spurred as much as he could, so that he 
got away safely under the protection of the Moors of 
the city. Those who were in the city watch-tower began 
to ring the alarm bell, and on this the inhabitants com- 
menced to put themselves in the usual stir, and the 

p. 5 . 2 of waiting. 

I 4 8 



LIFE AT CEUTA THE CONQUEST OF ALCACER 

Count at once issued orders that no one should go out. 
"Sir," said John Pereira (whose nickname was Augus- 
tine), a fiery knight of great reputation, "be pleased to 
allow Ayres da Cunha and his brother and Ruy Mendes 
and me to go and see what Moors these are, and if we 
find they are men with whom we ought to fight, we will 
come and tell you. . . ." 

' "Very well, go," said the Count, "but not far, 
whatever show the Moors make, for you have long 
practice of them and know their ways/' 

'Thefidatgos were quickly ready and as soon as they 
issued out and the Moors caught sight of them, they 
began to draw back, either to make them believe they 
feared them, and lead them on farther, or because they 
saw by their attitude that they did not seek to attack 
them. And on this the others of the city, one by one, 
began to go out, until fifteen joined the four fidalgos* 
"Now," said John Pereira, "we are so many here that 
we can well have a thrust at these Moors, for it would 
be a great shame for us to let them stay as they are, and 
may be they will not want to do more than they are doing 
for they seem to be young folk, who come rather to see, 
than from the wish to put themselves in peril, or toil." 

'On this they all set spurs to their horses and came 
up to the Moors, who at first began to turn round with 
the purpose to flee; but when some of the chief men 
looked behind and saw so few, they thought it a shame 
to show themselves overcome by such a small number. 
And so they cried out to the others to come back and 
making a quick turn on our men, they drove them be- 
fore them as far as the Port of Lameiro, below the upper 
watch-tower. And true it is that ours would have made a 
short stand there, but they could not support a number 
so out of proportion to their little band, and they could 

149 



THE PORTUGUESE PIONEERS 

do nothing but retire as cautiously as possible; but the 
foe once came so near to them that Ruy Mendes re- 
ceived a spear-thrust and fell dead on the ground; and 
who could hold the Moors when that fidalgo fell, for 
there was no one that did not try to reach him. 

'The Count, like one who well knew what would be 
the result of the affair, was already in the field and D. 
Fernando and D. Duarte the Count's son were with him, 
begging him to let them follow the others. . . . D, 
Fernando and D. Duarte stood more and more to their 
first request and thought the Count had some shadow 
of fear, and he knew this very well from their looks and 
smiling said: "Now my sons I will see who turns his 
face back," and he straightway put spurs to his horse, 
ordering all to follow him, and when they reached what 
is called the Tower of the Hanged, they met with the 
Moors, who were driving the Christians before them 
in great toil, and in the last fear. As soon as the Count 
saw them, he raised his voice and called on Saint James, 
and D. Fernando and D. Duarte were not idle in the 
business, nor the others who accompanied them. And 
though the Christians did not number more than 79 
and the Moors were so many, God willed to help his 
faithful in such wise that they soon made -the foe turn 
back, not without great loss, for the plain was sown 
with bodies bereft of souls. And the Christians went on 
killing and wounding their enemies until they reached 
the Lizirao, and there the Count wanted to draw rein, 
but it seemed to him that a voice, neither seen nor 
known, told him to go farther on and on no account to 
stop, as he actually did, , , . 

As the outskirts of that city are all part of that great 
mountain range called Ximeira, D. Fernando followed 
the Count as well as he could, but because in such 

150 



LIFE AT CEUTA THE CONQUEST OF ALCACER 

affairs it is impossible to keep company, since each man 
wants to make the best use of time, when D. Fernando 
arrived above the Canaveal, he found himself among 
the Moors, with his horse so tired that it stood still, 
unable to move. And when the enemy saw this, they 
turned on him, and he had no hope left, save to buy 
death as a man of his quality should. But D. Duarte, 
who had driven the foe before him, killing some and 
obliging others to shelter in the woods and bushes 
where horses could not reach, for the land is so rough 
that one can only ride in a few places, when he cast his 
eyes towards the chief body of retreating Moors and 
saw the great toil and jeopardy of D. Fernando, hurried 
his horse as much as he could and came up with the 
Moors, who very soon had proof of his strength. And 
the labour of D, Fernando was not unavenged, both in 
killed and wounded, in such wise that some scattered to 
one side, others to the other, until the hill they were on 
remained empty, and D. Duarte had another horse 
brought for his brother-in-law and they followed up the 
Moors to the post of the Lion, and even there a large 
number of the Infidels were killed.' 

'Weak indeed', remarks Zurara, 'must have been the 
man who did not send some soul to Hell that day/ 
When all was over, the Count knighted two Castilian 
gentlemen who had come from their land to win that 
honour, and these offered many thanks to God for 
giving them the chance to obtain it in such an event. 
. Prince Henry had to wait for twenty years before 
he was able to continue his land crusade in Morocco 
and make up for the defeat of Tangier, and then he 
owed the opportunity to events remote from Portugal. 
The conquest of Constantinople by the Turks in 1453 
and the progress, of their arms in the Balkan Peninsula 



THE PORTUGUESE PIONEERS 

constituted a serious threat to Western civilisation, and 
fearing even worse things, Pope Calixtus III appealed 
to the rulers of Christendom and urged them to unite 
their arms in a crusade. Early in 1456 he sent an invita- 
tion to Afonso V, and the monarch, who was to earn 
the title of the Knightly King, most readily agreed. He 
promised to serve for a year with 1 2,000 men at his own 
cost, and notwithstanding the complaints of his people, 
raised the necessary funds at a sacrifice and had a new 
coin, the gold cruzado^ minted for the expenses of the 
expedition. However, Christian disunion once more 
came to the help of the common foe. The other kings 
could not or would not embrace the project, and on the 
Pope's death two years later, it collapsed. Nevertheless, 
Afonso determined to carry his arms into Africa; at 
first he thought of attacking Tangier, but finally chose 
Alcacer-Seguer as his objective. On 30 September 1458 
he embarked at Setubal, and on 3 October reached 
Sagres, where he was joined by Henry, full of vigour 
and faith in spite of his sixty-four years ; and next day 
he landed at Lagos and waited for the rest of the fleet. 
When collected in the historic bay, it numbered 280 
sail carrying 22,000 men, 1 and with it Afonso set out 
on 17 October, crossed the Strait and reached Alcacer 
on the 2ist, after a halt in front of Tangier to get a 
favouring wind. The success of 1415 at Ceuta was re- 
peated. The Portuguese landed on the shore in front 
of the town, drove the defenders within the walls, and 
though harassed by gunfire, bolts and great stones, they 
got their bombards, military engines and scaling ladders 
in position and pressed the attack with vigour. At mid- 
night the Moors saw that further resistance would be 
useless and they sent Henry an offer of surrender. His 

i Caetano de Sousa, Historia Genealogica da Casa Real, Provas, vol. ii, p. 18. 

152 



LIFE AT CEUTA THE CONQUEST OF ALCACER 

reply was that Afonso would allow them to depart and 
take their wives and children and goods, but they must 
leave their Christian slaves behind. The evacuation took 
place on the 23rd, and after it the King entered the 
town on foot with his uncle Henry, his brother Fer- 
nando and his cousin Pedro, son of the Regent, and 
made his way to the mosque, which had already been 
converted into a church dedicated to Our Lady of 
Mercy, and there they all gave thanks to God for the 
victory. 1 Afonso bestowed the captaincy of Alcacer on 
Duarte de Menezes on account of his great goodness 
and loyalty, 2 and Zurara's chronicle of him, already 
mentioned, contains an account of his rule. He proved 
his worth by defending the place for fifty-three days in 
145859 against the attacks of the King of Fez with 
an army estimated at 100,000 men, but gave his life 
a few years later to save that of his master. The Moors 
maltreated his corpse so far that nothing could be 
found of him except one tooth, which was buried in the 
splendid tomb erected in his honour in the Church of 
St. Francis at Santarem. Both tomb and tooth are now 
preserved in the museum of the same city. 

We have already seen that, for some time before the 
expedition, Henry had been too much occupied with 
the preparations to attend to discovery, so that 'no one 
went to Guinea'. But on his return from Alcacer, Diogo 
Gomes reminded him of the request of King Nomi- 
Mansa, and the Infant sent out a mission to teach the 
Christian faith to the negroes of the Gambia. After this 
we hear no more of him until the autumn of 1460, 
when he was evidently arranging his affairs from a con- 

1 The expedition is described by Pina, Cronica de D. Afonso 7, cap. 138, 
and Goes, Cronka de Principe D. Joao, cap. 10. 

2 Alguns Documenfos, p. 25. 

153 



THE PORTUGUESE PIONEERS 

sciousness that the end was near. On 22 August he 
formally granted the islands of Terceira and Graciosa 
to his nephew and heir Fernando, and on 1 8 September 
the spiritualities of the Madeira islands to the Order of 
Christ. On the same day he provided for Masses to be 
said for his soul in the islands of St. Michael, St. Mary, 
Terceira and Graciosa, and transferred the temporalities 
of five of the Cape Verde islands to the King and the 
spiritualities to the Order of Christ. 1 On 1 3 October (or 
28th) he made his modest will. 2 

After this we have only the record of his death and 
burial by Diogo Gomes. 

'In the year 1460 the lord Infant Henry fell ill in 
his town at Cape St. Vincent and died of the illness on 
the 1 3th November of the same year, a Thursday; and 
on the night of his death, he was taken to the Church 
of St. Mary at Lagos and there honourably buried. 
And the King Afonso was then in the city of Evora and 
he was very saddened, both he and his people, by the 
death of so great a lord, because he spent all his revenues 
and all he got from Guinea in war and in continual 
fleets at sea against the Saracens for the faith of Christ. 
At the end of the year King Afonso sent for me, be- 
cause by his command I had stayed in Lagos near the 
Infant's body, supplying the needs of the priests who 
were employed in continual vigils and Divine offices, 
and he commanded me to see if the Infant's body was 
corrupt, because he wished to translate his bones to 
the beautiful monastery called St. Mary of Batalha, 
which his father King John I built for the friars of the 
Order of Preachers. When I approached the corpse 

1 All these documents are in Alguns Documentos^ pp. 26, 27. 
* Printed by the Marquis de Sousa Holstein in A Escola de Sagres, etc. 
(Lisbon, 1877), 

154 



HENRY S DEATH AND CHARACTER 

and uncovered it, I found it dry and intact, except at 
the tip of the nose, and it was encircled by a rough shirt 
of horse hair; well sings the Church: "Thou shall not 
permit the holy one to see corruption". The lord Infant 
remained a virgin till his death and he conferred many 
benefits in his life which would be endless to relate. 
Then the King ordered his brother D. Fernando Duke 
of Beja and Bishops and Counts to conduct the body 
to the monastery of Batalha, where the King awaited 
it. And the Infant's body was buried in a great and most 
beautiful chapel which his father King John had caused 
to be built, and there the King himself lies and his wife 
D. Philippa, mother of the Infant and his five brothers, 
the memory of all whom will be eternally praised and 
they repose in holy peace. Amen/ 

As Gomes says, his tomb is in the Founder's Chapel, 1 
and above it is his recumbent statue in armour, with 
a finely wrought canopy over his head. On the face of 
the tomb are three escutcheons, containing his own 
arms, the cross and motto of the Garter and the cross 
of the Order of Christ; the frieze bears his motto, 
Talant de bien faire* surrounded by branches of ilex 
and an inscription shewing the occupant of the place, 
in which the date of death has been left blank. His 
portrait in the Paris MS. of the Chronicle of Guinea is 
also framed by branches of ilex, and below it and among 
them are pyramids in two ovals with his motto. Frei 
Luis de Sousa suggests that the tree and pyramids were 
chosen by the Prince for the following reasons. By the 
wildness and humility of the ilex and its dry, useless 
fruit he wished to signify the difficulty and profitless 

1 Described by Frei Luis de Sousa, Historia de S. Domingos, bk. vi, cap. 15. 

2 The fashion was introduced by Queen Philippa, and John and his sons 
chose each his own motto, always in Fiench. 

155 



THE PORTUGUESE PIONEERS 

nature of the enterprise he had undertaken in seeking 
to cultivate the deserts of Africa with many perils by 
sea and land; and by the pyramids, the work of the old 
kings of Egypt, a useless labour, yet esteemed a wonder 
of the world, he desired to shew the greatness of his 
mind and that he expected no return from his dis- 
coveries. 

These are inadequately recorded on the promontory 
of Sagres, near Cape St. Vincent, the south-western 
extremity of the European continent. 

The town built by the Infant was at the cape, accord- 
ing to Zurara, 1 who says he designed it to serve as a 
commercial port where ships passing from East to 
West could shelter and get provisions and pilots, as at 
Cadiz. Henry also built a fortress at Sagres, according 
to Cadamosto, and this was fired by Drake in 1587, 
when he occupied the bay beneath as a base from which 
to attack the Spanish treasure fleet on its way home. 
Time and neglect completed the work of destruction, 
and when the plan of its site, given by Major, was made 
in 1840, only a few ruins remained. 2 Inside the gate of 
the fort which spans the neck of the peninsula, a marble 
slab bearing the escutcheon of the Infant, an armillary 
sphere, a modern ship in full sail and inscriptions in 
Latin and Portuguese, was erected in the same year by 
the government then in power. But the man demands 
a greater monument, which should be visible to the 
thousands of passing ships and remind seafarers that 
there, or near-by, one of the world's heroes and the 
organiser of continuous maritime discovery spent much 

1 D. Francisco Manoel de Mello places it on the neighbouring promontory 
of Sagres (Epanaphoras, ed. of 1931, p. 243). 

1 The exact site of Henry's town is still a matter of controversy. Dr. Jules 
Mees (Henri le NavigateuretrAcadJmie Portugaise de Sagres, Brussels, 1901) 
discussed the question most fully but reached no dear conclusion. 

156 



HENRY'S DEATH AND CHARACTER 

of his life. Portuguese vessels rounding the cape used 
to lower their sails in homage to St. Vincent, who had 
lain there and been adopted as patron of the capital, and 
they might well dip their flags now. 

There are also three statues of the Infant, one over 
the southern porch of the Jeronymos church at Belem 
near Lisbon, which was built by King Manoel to com- 
memorate the discovery of the sea route to India, a 
second recently erected on the banks of the Tagus near 
the church, and a third, also a modern work, in front 
of the Bourse in Oporto, not far from the house in 
which he is supposed to have been born. His native city 
celebrated the fifth centenary of this event in 1894, 
while England, to whom he half belonged by blood, 
has produced the two best biographies, those of Major 
and Sir Raymond Beazley. 1 We possess two contem- 
porary portraits of the Navigator, 2 one dating from 
about 1453 in the MS. of the Chronicle of Guinea in the 
Paris National Library, the other contained in one of 
the triptychs of Nuno Gon?alves dated from 1457 to 
1459, in the Museum of Ancient Art in Lisbon* 3 They 
are very similar in the pose and even the garments, 
though the colour of the latter varies; in fact the only 
important difference lies in the expression of the face, 
which in the miniature is clearer but rather wooden, 
while in the painting the Infant has a dreamy expres- 
sion, corresponding to one of his dual personality, for 
he was both an idealist and a practical man of affairs. 

1 In the 'Heroes of the Nations' Series. 

* A term invented by Major and not adopted by the Portuguese; Henry 
made others navigate, but only took three voyages himself, and these merely 
across the Strait of Gibraltar. The Paris portrait is reproduced in colour by 
Major and M. de la Ronciere. 

3 See the authoritative and illustrated study of Dr. Jose" de Figueiredo, 
Director of the Museum, Pintor Nuno Gonfalws, and my article in the 
Burlington Magazine for 1910. 

157 



THE PORTUGUESE PIONEERS 

Henry's appearance and character is fully described 
by his panegyrist Zurara: 

'The noble Prince was of a good height and broad 
frame, big and strong of limb, the hair of his head 
somewhat erect, his colour naturally fair, 1 but by con- 
stant toil and exposure it had become dark. His expres- 
sion at first sight inspired fear in those who did not 
know him, and when wroth, though such times were 
rare, his countenance was harsh. He possessed strength 
of heart and keenness of mind to a very excellent degree, 
and he was beyond comparison ambitious of achieving 
great and lofty deeds. Neither lewdness nor avarice ever 
found a home in his breast, for as to the former he was 
so restrained that he passed all his life in purest chastity, 
and as a virgin the earth received him again at his death 
to herself. . . . 

'His palace was a school of hospitality for the good 
and high born of the realm and still more for strangers, 
and the fame of it caused him a great increase of expense, 
for commonly there were to be found in his presence 
men from various nations, so different from our own 
that it was a marvel to well-nigh all our people; and 
none of that multitude could go away without some 
guerdon from the Prince. 

'All his days he spent in the greatest toil, for of a 
surety among the nations of mankind no one existed 
who was a sterner master to himself. It would be hard 
to tell how many nights he passed in which his eyes 
knew no sleep; and his body was so transformed by 
abstinence, that it seemed as if Henry had made its 
nature to be different from that of others. Such was the 
length of his toil and so rigorous was it, that as the poets 
have feigned that Atlas the giant held up the heavens 

1 From his mother. His brother Pedro was a red-bearded Englishman. 

158 



HENRY'S DEATH AND CHARACTER 

upon his shoulders, for the great knowledge there was 
in him concerning the movements of the celestial 
bodies, so the people of our kingdom had a proverb 
that the great labours of this our prince conquered the 
heights of the mountains, that is to say, the things that 
seemed impossible to other men were made by his 
continual energy to appear light and easy. 

'The prince was a man of great wisdom and authority, 
very discreet and of good memory, but in some matters 
a little tardy, whether it was from the influence of the 
phlegm in his nature, or from the choice of his will, 
directed to some certain end not known to men. His bear- 
ing was calm and dignified, his speech and address gentle. 
He was constant in adversity, humble in prosperity. 
Never was hatred known to him, nor ill-will toward any 
man, however great the wrong done him; and such was 
his benignity in this respect, that wiseacres reproached 
him as wanting in distributive justice. And this they 
said, because he left unpunished some of his servants 
who deserted him at the siege of Tangier, which was 
the most perilous affair in which he ever stood before 
or after, not only becoming reconciled to them, but even 
granting them honourable advancement over others 
who had served him well, which in the judgment of 
men was far from their deserts, and this is the only 
shortcoming of his I have to record. The Infant 
drank wine only for a very small part of his life and 
that in his youth, but afterwards he abstained entirely 
from it. 

'He ever showed great devotion to the public affairs 
of this kingdom, toiling greatly for their good advance- 
ment and he much delighted in the trial of new under- 
takings for the profit of all, though with great expense 
of his own substance, and he keenly enjoyed the labour 

159. 



THE PORTUGUESE PIONEERS 

of arms, especially against the enemies of the holy 
Faith, while he desired peace with all Christians. Thus 
he was loved by all alike, for he made himself useful 
to all and hindered no one. His answers were always 
gentle and he showed great honour to the standing of 
every one who came to him, without any lessening of 
his own estate. A base or unchaste word was never 
heard to issue from his mouth. He was very obedient 
to the commands of Holy Church and heard all its 
offices with great devotion ; aye and caused the same to 
be celebrated in his chapel, with no less splendour and 
ceremony than they could have been in the college of 
any Cathedral Church. . . , Well-nigh one-half of the 
year he spent in fasting and the hands of the poor never 
went away empty from his presence ---- His heart knew 
not fear, save the fear of sin.' 1 

This panegyric is quite sincere, and yet, though 
Barros followed in the same strain, it will sound ex- 
cessive to many and fail to convince them; it may even 
prejudice them against Henry, for great virtue, unlike 
other rare commodities, is usually neither sought for 
nor admired, the cost of its acquisition being more than 
most men can bring themselves to pay. And yet Cada- 
mosto, a foreigner who wrote of his voyages in Venice 
after the Infant's death, does not praise faintly, though 
he gives him less space, as though it were needless to 

as the 



first to think of having this part of the ocean sea navi- 
gated towards the South and as greatly to be com- 
mended for his studies in the course of the heavens and 
!^j$ and > in half apology to" tHe "reader for ^his 
brevity, he adds^'I will only say that, possessing a great 
heart and sublime and high talents, he dedicated him- 

1 Chronicle of Guinea, cap. iv. 
1 6O 



HENRY'S DEATH AND CHARACTER 

self wholly to the chivalry of Our Lord and Master 
Jesus Christ in making war on the barbarians and he 
would never marry, but preserved great chastity in his 
youth; he achieved many excellent things in war against 
the Moors, both with his own person and by his 
efforts, which are worthy of great remembrance/ He 
then relates the charge given to Henry by his father on 
his death-bed to continue the crusade and shews how 
it was obeyed, and he ascribes the passage of Cape 
Bojador to the Infant's desire to know the lands beyond 
in order to do hurt to the Moors. 1 It must be said, 
however, that King Duarte discloses another side of 
Henry in the counsels he gave him previous to the 
expedition to Tangier 2 ; from these it appears that the 
latter was unmethodical, hasty in his resolutions, too 
ready to make promises and so unable to carry them 
out, finally that he was lavish with money and raised it 
without being very scrupulous as to the means em- 
ployed. His liberality in gifts is, as we have seen, men- 
tioned by Zurara, and taken together with the enormous 
cost entailed by the ocean voyages it would explain 
the debts he left behind him, 

Henry has been accused of egotism, and the deaths 
of his brothers Fernando and Pedro have been laid to 
his charge. In the latter case, Oliveira Martins, his 
principal critic, followed the lead of Ruy de Pina, 3 
who probably repeated accusations current in his time, 
but it is unjust to fix on Henry the whole responsi- 
bility for either of those tragedies. When in 1438 King 

1 Preface to his account of his voyages. 

1 Printed in Caetano de Sousa, Historta Genealogica. da Casa Real, Provas 
vol. i, pp. 536-38- 

8 Dr. Domingos Mauricio, in the articles in Broteria already cited, shews 
that Pina is far from a trustworthy historian. The charges of O. Martins are 
in Osfilhos de D. Joao L 

161 11 



THE PORTUGUESE PIONEERS 

Duarte called the Cortes to discuss the surrender of 
Ceuta, it was found that opinions were divided. The 
Infants Pedro and John, many nobles and representatives 
of the Third Estate considered that the terms made 
with the Moors should be carried out. The Archbishop 
of Lisbon and a larger party held that the King could 
not surrender Ceuta without leave from the Pope, be- 
cause it would mean the profanation of churches, 
which ought not to be done to save one man. A third 
party voted for delay and further endeavours to in- 
duce the Moors to accept a money payment in lieu of 
the town ; if they refused, the King should invoke the 
help of the Holy See and other monarchs to obtain the 
liberation of Fernando, and only in the last resort ought 
Ceuta to be handed back. A fourth party contended 
that Ceuta was of too much value to Christendom to be 
given up. Duarte, after much hesitation, decided to con- 
sult the Pope and the kings of Castile, Aragon, France 
and England; the first gave no direct answer, and 
though the others urged him to hold the place and to 
ransom his brother, they offered no monetary help for 
the purpose and in the end nothing was done. Henry 
agreed with the last party. The town in Portuguese 
hands meant a permanent threat to Islam, because it 
would serve as a base for /renewed attacks on the 
secular enemy of Christianity! Its strategic importance 
for this purpose led him to consider it as the property of 
God and of more value than his brother's life. 

His apparent supineness in the defence of Pedro 
against the intrigues of the Duke of Braganza and 
others, which led to the battle of Alfarrobeira, is also 
capable of explanation. The King took their part, and 
to side with Pedro would have been to share in his 
mistake, rebel against his lord and master, the centre of 

162 



HENRY S DEATH AND CHARACTER 

authority, and imperil the national unity; loyalty for- 
bade him to take such action. Moreover by so doing he 
would have imperilled the realisation of his life work, 
which could not be continued without the good-will of 
Afonso V and even of the Braganza family, from whom 
he had afterwards to borrow money to carry it on. 
Between sacrificing the work he considered a service to 
God and sacrificing his brother he could only choose 
the second alternative, in accordance with the ideas in 

which he had been brought up. 1 _ 

Henry's connection with the University, 2 his so- 
called academy at Sagres and his ultimate aims in ex- 
ploration are so many disputed points in his biography. 
As to the first, there is a tradition that he established a. 
chair of mathematics in Lisbon, and he certainly pur- 
chased houses for the University and gave a subsidy to 
the chair of theology, because he desired the increase 
.of knowledge 'frorr^ which all good proceeds ^he pro^ 
fessor was to have twelve silver marks every Christmas 
from the tithes received by the Order of Christ from 
the island of Madeira. The title the Infant used, Tro- 
tector of Portuguese studies*, would explain these bene- 
factions. Some modern writers, looking at the past with 
the eyes of the present and ignorant of the policy of 
secrecy, have expressed surprise that they did not in- 
clude a chair of cosmography. His gifts to the Order of 
Christ have been already mentioned, but in addition to 
them he built two cloisters and a choir in the Mother 
Convent at Thomar, churches at Pombal and Soure 
and in the Azores, and a chapel at Restello on the Tagus 
outside Lisbon, where Vasco da Gama kept vigil before 

1 Joaquim Bensaude, As origens do piano das Indias (Paris, 1930), p. 14. 

2 Until recent years Portugal had only one university, which was first 
established in Lisbon but ultimately found a more appropriate home at 
Coimbra. 

163 



THE PORTUGUESE PIONEERS 

he started for his voyage to India. The noble pile of the 
Jeronymos afterwards took its place. 

Little is known but much has been imagined and 
written down about the Academy, or School of Sagres, 
at the Tercena Nabal, or naval arsenal, which developed 
into a small town called the Infant's Town, where 
Henry passed some of his time and from which he 
issued charters. Its erection began after his return from 
the expedition to Tangier, and when Zurara wrote the 
Chronicle of Guinea the walls were still rising and only 
a few houses existed, though work was going on con- 
tinually. The place seems to have contained Henry's 
palace, certainly a very modest one in view of his habits, 
the Church of St. Catharine, a chapel dedicated to Our 
Lady, houses of study and an observatory and a very 
large wind-rose, remains of which can still be seen, but 
nothing to warrant the pompous name of an Academy. 
As Baron Nordenskiold suggested, the Academy prob- 
ably consisted of a school of navigation, important for 
the period, but small. 1 No charts or geographical works 
emanating from the School of Sagres have come down 
to us, but there are references to the work done there in 
the chronicles and evidences of it in the maps of Italian 
cartographers, Andrea Bianco, Fra Mauro andBenincasa. 
Zurara declares that what had previously been shewn on 
the west coast of Africa on the Mappa Mundi was not true 
but only depicted at hazard, but what was placed on the 
charts by Henry's order came from the surveys made by 
his seamen. 2 The best proof of the productivity of the 
School of Sagres, however, lies in the Henrician voyages, 
and the colonial development which flowed from them. 3 

1 Cited in Chronicle ofGuinea> vol. ii, p. 109. 
1 Chronicle of Guinea, cap. 78. 

8 On the School of Sagres nothing better has been written than a study 

164 



HENRY S DEATH AND CHARACTER 

There has been a controversy among scholars as to 
the ultimate object which Prince Henry set before him 
in his maritime explorations. Influenced by Zurara's 
silence, Vignaud contended that the Infant never 
thought of reaching the East Indies, but only endea- 
voured to open up relations with Prester John. 1 Now, as 
we have seen, Goes explicitly states that Henry desired 
to find the former, and though he wrote nearly a cen- 
tury after Henry's death, King Manoel made a like 
assertion in the letters patent whereby he conferred the 
title of Admiral on Vasco da Gama on 10 January 1 502. 
The King there said that Henry began to discover 
Guinea with the purpose and will to find India by that 
coast. 2 As Dr. Cortezao remarks, the designation of 
'India* in a grant to the finder of the way thither, made 
only four years after the great voyage, cannot refer 
to the realm of Prester John. Besides this, actual con- 
temporary evidence of Henry's intentions has been 
preserved. In chapter sixteen of the Chronicle of Guinea 
Zurara reports the Prince as saying: *he not only 
desired to have knowledge of that land, but also of the 
Indies and of the land of Prester John, if he could'; and 
this was as early as 1442. Account must also be taken 
of the Papal bulls. In that of 8 January 1454 Pope 
Nicholas V bore witness to Henry's desire to make 
the ocean navigable as far as the Indians 'who are said 
to worship the name of Christ' (i.e. the so-called St. 
Thomas's Christians of the Malabar coast); while Pope 
Calixtus III in March 1456 conceded to the Order of 
Christ spiritual jurisdiction over all the lands to be 

of the late Vicente Almeida d'Eca in the special number of the Boktim of 
the Lisbon Geographical Society commemorating the fifth centenary of the 
capture of Ceuta. 

1 Histoire critique de agrande entreprist (Paris, 1911), vol. i, cap. 4. 

1 Alguns Documentos, p. 127. 

165 



THE PORTUGUESE PIONEERS 

acquired by the Portuguese explorers beyond CapeNon, 
throughout all Guinea and beyond that Southern region 
*as far as the Indians'. 

In these Indians Vignaud merely saw Abyssinians, 
He quoted the statement of Nicholas V that in the 
memory of man the southern and eastern seas had never 
been navigated and that the lands bordering them were 
unknown, and asked if the Pope could affirm that of the 
East Indies. But neither could it be said with truth of 
the coast of East Africa; in both cases the statement 
would be inaccurate. Vignaud added that the Pope 
could not describe the Nestorians of India as being 
'said to worship Christ', but still less could this have 
referred to the subjects of Prester John, whose religion 
was well known at Rome. The French scholar was 
correct when he observed that the Nestorians of India 
would have been unable to help the Portuguese, be- 
cause they had neither realm nor monarch, but Henry 
could not have been expected to know that fact, and 
Vignaud found himself unable to explain the reference 
in the Chronicle of Guinea mentioned above. He further 
relied on the absence of any mention of the East Indies 
in the Treaty of Alcacjovas, but forgot that this pact dealt 
only with disputed territories. It is very likely that 
Henry only sought Prester John at first, but in the 
course of his life his plans developed. He must have 
known of the rich Eastern trade, which was an Italian 
monopoly, and it is natural that he should have wished 
to secure a share of it for his country. No argument 
can safely be drawn from the silence of the chron- 
iclers, for res non verba was the motto of Portuguese 
policy. 

Though Henry was first and always remained a 
crusader, for his life began and ended by a crusading 

166 



HENRY S DEATH AND CHARACTER 

expedition, Ceuta and Alcacer, he was also a pioneer of 
trade for its own sake and as a means to the conversion 
of the African natives ; and Sir Raymond Beazley is no 
doubt right in considering that the erection of a fort 
and factory at Arguim marks a change in his policy. 
Raids were prohibited and peaceful traffic took their 
place. As a result the Alarves and Azenegues brought 
gold dust and black slaves from Jaloff and Mandinga 
together with hides and gum-arabic to exchange for red 
and blue cloth, coarse kerchiefs, shawls and other like 
articles of small value made in the Alemtejo. 1 

Duarte Pacheco describes this commerce and points 
out the great benefits Henry conferred on Portugal 
by his discoveries, for the lands between the Senegal 
and Sierra Leone used to produce yearly more than 
3500 slaves and much ivory and gold and many fine 
cotton cloths. Moreover his voyages led to the dis- 
covery of the farther Guinea and India. 2 

Sir Raymond Beazley holds that Diogo Gomes fell 
back on trade only when his Indiaward course was 
checked by the currents beyond the Rio Grande, and 
Gomes himself tells us of Henry's correspondence with 
a merchant of Oran and of the reports the Infant re- 
ceived about the relations of the Negro states of the 
interior. They are further evidence of his search for 
knowledge and are a part of the European movement 
of expansion whose permanent results begin with the 
activities of the Navigator. 3 

His colonising work has been dealt with already, but 
we may add that his foundation of churches in Corvo 
and Flores shews that it reached to the farthest of the 

1 Esmeraldo, cap. 24. 
a Ibid. cap. 33. 

8 Sir R. Beazley, 'Prince Henry of Portugal and his Political, Commercial 
and Colonizing Work' in American Historical Review, January 1912. 

167 



THE PORTUGUESE PIONEERS 

Azores; while the use he made of Flemings is of 
interest, for it proves that he was ahead of public opinion 
in welcoming outside aid in a national undertaking. 
Moreover foreign vessels had full liberty to trade to 
the Azores and Madeira islands. On the other hand, 
navigation to and trade with Guinea was strictly re- 
served for those Portuguese who had Henry's licence, 
and he himself owned various monopolies at home by 
royal grant, including those of the tunny and coral 
fisheries off the coast of the Algarve, dyeing and the 
manufacture and sale of soap. 1 

It will have been observed that our knowledge of the 
Henrician voyages is inadequate, and this is largely due 
to the adoption of a policy of secrecy, which included 
the suppression of facts that might serve competitors. 
At the same time measures were taken to find out 
foreign plans and the title-deeds relating to the claims 
of rivals. It was King John II who fully developed the 
policy, but even in Henry's lifetime Afonso V had a 
Castilian in his service who acted as 'reader of the 
Chronicles and books of Castile'. Moreover on the 
Prince's death, as Dr. Cortezao states, his maps, 
nautical instruments and papers were removed to 
Lisbon, and they are not mentioned in the minute 
inventory of his effects. 

The strange silence preserved by Portuguese chron- 
iclers of the fifteenth century about the discoveries 
is thus explicable. When Barros came to write of them, 
he could find no complete copy of Zurara's Chronicle 
of Guinea, and he declares that more discoveries were 
made in the reign of Afonso V than those he relates, 2 
Yet it is most unlikely that the King would have for- 

1 Dr. Fortnnato de Almeida, Historia de Portugal, vol. iii, pp. 531, 539. 
1 Aria, dec. I, bk. ii, cap. 2. 

168 



HENRY S DEATH AND CHARACTER 

gotten to have the voyages after 1448 recorded, when 
he commissioned Zurara to write in great detail the 
achievements of the Menezes family in Africa. Damiao 
de Goes states that in his time histories which formerly 
existed had vanished. He remarks that the chronicle 
of Afonso V by Ruy de Pina contained only one 
chapter about the voyages, and that of King Duarte by 
the same author said nothing on the subject, while 
there was no chronicle at all covering the latter part 
of the reign of John I, that is, the beginning of the 
period of discovery. Goes does not mention the work 
of Cerveira from which Zurara drew much of his in- 
formation, so that it had evidently disappeared also, 
Pina wrote in the sixteenth century, using the work of 
his predecessor Zurara, who had composed a chronicle 
of King Duarte and written part of one of Afonso V, 
but he omitted to speak of the most important events 
of the age, the voyages and discoveries. Nothing but 
the official policy of secrecy can account for his silence. 
As royal chronicler he must have acted under orders, 
for otherwise he would not have dared to leave out 
notable achievements in the recording of which many 
persons then living had an interest. The disappearance 
of the earlier and more complete works of Cerveira and 
other writers, referred to by Zurara, must also be 
attributed to the policy of secrecy. They were almost 
certainly destroyed. 

Even the Chronicle of Guinea has been tampered with 
and truncated, as an examination of the text makes clear, 1 
and we have hardly any information about the Atlantic 
voyages to the West. Of this same chronicle Pina only 
used enough to form one chapter. Now if when the 
discoveries were in their infancy and their extraordinary 

1 Alvaro J. da Costa Pimp5o> A Cronica de Gum (Coimbra, 1926). 

169 



THE PORTUGUESE PIONEERS 

development could not be foreseen, Zurara had been 
employed to record them, and if Cerveira had related 
them more minutely, how came it that they were treated 
as of less importance when they had transformed the 
face of the world? There seems to be but one answer, 
that given here, following Dr. Jaime Cortezao. 1 It is 
only by chance that we have lately learnt that an 
ambassador of Prester John visited Lisbon eight years 
before Henry's death, and we cannot help wondering 
what other important finds may be awaiting students 
among the Portuguese archives. Again, it was not until 
the seventeenth century that Caetano de Sousa printed 
a document by which two years after that embassy, on 
7 June 1454, Afonso V granted the spiritual jurisdic- 
tion over Nubia and Ethiopia to the Order of Christ, 
and we are still ignorant of the motives that led to the 
concession. 

The policy of secrecy not only caused the suppression 
of historical works, but nautical guides, maps, instruc- 
tions to navigators and their reports suffered the same 
fate, so that very few of the early ones have come down 
to us. The Portuguese government endeavoured to pre- 
vent the export of maps, but its efforts were not always 
successful in counteracting the zeal of Italian agents. 
After the return of Cabral from India, one of these men 
wrote: 'It is impossible to get a chart of this voyage, 
because the King has decreed the death penalty for 
anyone sending one abroad*. 2 Nevertheless, Cantino 
obtained the map which bears his name in Lisbon, the 
Spanish cartographer Juan de la Cosa returned with two 
from his mission to the same city in 1503, and the 

1 His important article on the policy of secrecy will be found in the review 
Luntania for January 1924. 
1 Historia da CoknisifSo do Brazil, vol. ii, p. 227. 

I7O 



HENRYS DEATH AND CHARACTER 

vigilance increased after the voyage of Magellan, It is 
said that navigating charts were sometimes only lent by 
the India House, and at the end of a voyage they had to 
be returned there. 1 Those which accompanied Esmeraldo 
are missing and were probably removed of set purpose. 

The policy of secrecy was a national one and not 
imposed from above. In the Cortes of 1481 the repre- 
sentatives of the Third Estate petitioned John II not to 
allow foreigners to reside In his dominions, adding that 
as regards Florentines and Genoese they had brought 
no profit, but on the contrary had found out secrets 
about Mina, the centre of Portuguese trade on the 
Guinea coast, and the islands. They spoke more truly 
than they could have known, for it is probable that 
during his residence in Portugal Columbus obtained 
the information which enabled him to find his new 
islands in the West. 

The farthest point down the African coast attained 
by mariners in Henry's lifetime is usually said to have 
been Sierra Leone, but in a document of January 1458 
the Infant declares: 'Our Lord was pleased to give me 
certain knowledge of those parts from Cape Non, past 
all the land of Barbary and Nubia and also 300 leagues 
of the land of Guinea*. In view of this statement and of 
the delineation of the Gulf of Guinea on the Genoese 
planisphere of 1457 and on the map of Fra Mauro of 
1459, Dr. J. Cortezao concludes that Cape Palmas was 
reached. He also affirms that materials exist to shew 
that in 1452 Diogo de Teive was in American waters 
and promises to set them out in a book he has in pre- 
paration. He is probably correct in supposing that the 

1 Vide A. Magnaghi, II Planisfero del 1523 (Florence, 1929), p. 16. 
Harisse takes an opposite view, holding that the colonial policy of Portugal 
was generally liberal and that the government did not as a rule make a secret 
of its maps (Discovery ofNortk America, Paris, 1892, p. 273). 

171 



THE PORTUGUESE PIONEERS 

commercial information contained in the inscriptions 
on Fra Mauro's map was derived by the Portuguese 
from native sources. 1 

1 Vide the new illustrated Historia de Portugal, edited by Professor Damiao 
Peres, voL iii, p. 38*. 



172 



CHAPTER IX 

THE TWENTY YEARS AFTER PRINCE HENRY'S 

DEATH 



7* VER since the capture of Alcacer, the knightly 
^spirit of Afonso V had dreamed of new conquests 



in Africa, although his advisers were in general opposed 
to such projects. In 1460 he had made preparations to 
cross over to Ceuta with 2500 horse and a force of foot, 
but a serious illness prevented it. In 1462 he had 
definitely made up his mind to attack Tangier, and 
some of the emissaries he sent to spy out the town 
succeeded in ascending the walls by a rope ladder. In 
view, no doubt, of their reports it was decided that the 
King should make an assault from the sea while others 
operated on the land side, and the expedition left Lisbon 
on 7 November 1463. It encountered a furious storm 
at sea, but Afonso, rejecting advice to seek shelter at 
Silves, ordered the fleet to go ahead. Two vessels sank, 
and instead of proceeding direct to Tangier, as had 
been arranged, the rest were compelled to run into 
Ceuta. From there the King sailed to Alcacer and 
despatched Luis Mendes de Vasconcellos with twelve 
galleys containing picked troops to Tangier, while he 
himself made the journey by land with his brother 
Fernando. Vasconcellos and his troops were unable to 
disembark on account of the rough sea, but the Moors 
fired on them from the walls, and as it had been settled 
that this should be the signal for the Christian attack, 

173 



THE PORTUGUESE PIONEERS 

the King advanced with his troops and was repulsed. 
Later on, without his knowledge, Fernando made a 
second attempt, which was equally unsuccessful, and 
on 19 January 1464 a third. On this occasion the 
Portuguese actually reached the top of the walls, but 
were unable to descend into the town, and in that 
exposed position they proved an easy mark for the 
Moorish crossbowmen: 200 were slain and 100 taken 
prisoners. Afonso received the news of the repulse 
when he was about to cross to Gibraltar, which had 
been captured by the Spaniards in 1463, to have an 
interview with Henry IV of Castile. He returned to 
Africa later, but only to make his way home. Four 
years afterwards Fernando took and destroyed Anafe. 
In 1470 the King of Portugal decided to renew the 
Crusade and attack Arzila, situated on the Atlantic 
coast, outside the Strait, but he afterwards changed his 
mind and proposed to go against Tangier. His coun- 
cillors, however, intervened to dissuade him; the Cortes 
made representations in the same sense and he was per- 
suaded to adhere to the first plan. He therefore sent 
Pero de Alca^ova, a high treasury official, and Vincent 
Simoes, a knowledgeable man in the affairs of the sea, 
in disguise to spy out the harbour and means of land- 
ing; but when all was ready, an untoward incident de- 
layed the expedition. In March 1471 the Bastard of 
Fauconberg, acting in the interests of Henry VI of 
England against Edward IV, seized and plundered in 
the Channel twelve richly laden Portuguese ships re- 
turning from Flanders, on the ground of the assistance 
given to Edward by the Duke of Burgundy. This pirati- 
cal act, a serious breach of the alliance between Por- 
tugal and England, enraged Afonso V, and when the 
ambassadors whom he sent to London to demand satis- 

174 



THE TWENTY YEARS AFTER PRINCE HENRY ? S DEATH 

faction met with no success, he contemplated directing 
against England the fleet he had prepared for Arzila 
and actually named John, son of the Duke of Braganza, 
to command it. Though he desisted from this step, he 
issued a declaration of war and authorised his subjects 
to make reprisals on English shipping. But Henry VI 
died shortly afterwards, Edward IV confirmed the 
Treaty of Windsor, and restitution was made to the 
Portuguese in due course. 

Afonso and his son John, then aged sixteen and only 
recently married, left Lisbon for Africa on 1 5 August 
1 47 1, 1 with a fleet of 400 sail, carrying 30,000 men, 
which included the principal nobles and cavaliers of the 
realm; and after a halt at Lagos, where Mass was said, 
a sermon preached and the objective published, they went 
on to Arzila, which was reached on the 2oth. Goes de- 
scribes it as being then a well-built and prosperous town 
and the neighbourhood as rich in fruit-trees and corn; 
its inhabitants were warlike and continually raided the 
coasts of Spain, The Portuguese landed with difficulty 
on account of the rough sea, and a galley and various 
ships and boats were swamped and more than 200 men 
drowned. The bad weather made it impossible for the 
moment to disembark the palisade, which was intended 
to protect the camp and the siege guns, but the King's 
ardent nature would not brook any delay, and though 
he had only two bombards on shore, he ordered the 
siege to begin. After three days, their discharges 

1 The authorities for the expedition to Arzila are the Cronica de D. 
Afonso V, by Ruy de Pina, and the work of Goes, but these were composed 
some time after the event, the first being published in 1504, the second in 
1567. The magnificent tapestries at Pastrana in old Castile illustrating it are 
contemporary productions and enable us to correct some of the statements 
of the chroniclers; the Historic de Andfa, by Professor David Lopes (Coimbra, 
1925), founded on Berber and Portuguese sources, gives the most full and 
trustworthy account. 

175 



THE PORTUGUESE PIONEERS 

brought down a strip of wall, and on the 24th, St. Bar- 
tholomew's Day, the besieged displayed a white flag 
and negotiations began for the surrender. But some 
Portuguese captains refused to await the result and 
rushed the breach while the Moors were unprepared, 
and Arzila was in their hands before the King knew it. 
So say the chroniclers, but an inscription on one of the 
tapestries, that depicting the assault, states that before 
dawn the King addressed his men-at-arms, who then, 
some by the breach, others by scaling ladders, furiously 
entered the city. The King had the gates opened and 
entered, while part of the garrison retired to the mosque 
and castle and made for hours a desperate but fruitless 
resistance. 

The capture of these strongholds cost the Portuguese 
dear. Two of their leaders, D. John Coutinho, Count of 
Marialva, and D. Alvaro de Castro, Count of Mon- 
santo, perished, and Prince John's sword was twisted 
by the blows he gave. After the victory the King 
knighted his son in the mosque and, pointing out to him 
the dead body of Marialva, said, not without some 
tears : *God make you as good a knight as he who lies 
there/ The Moorish prisoners numbered 5000, the 
dead 2000 and fifty Christian captives were released. 
The spoil was estimated as worth 800,000 gold dobras^ 
which the King with his wonted generosity left to his 
men, refusing to take anything for himself. The King 
of Fez came to relieve the town when it was already in 
Christian hands and found that two of his wives and 
a young son and daughter were among the prisoners. 
The boy, who afterwards ascended the throne of Fez, 
was taken to Portugal, but the other three were ex- 
changed for the bones of the Infant Ferdinand, who, 
as already related, had been left as hostage in 1437. A 



THE TWENTY YEARS AFTER PRINCE HENRY*S DEATH 

truce for twenty years was made between the two 
monarchs, under which the Portuguese were to enjoy 
Ceuta, Alcacer and Arzila and the surrounding lands 
in peace. The internal dissensions of the kingdom of 
Fez accounted for the Christian successes, while those 
of Morocco facilitated the later conquests of Manuel I. 

The capture of Arzila had unexpected result and one 
very fortunate for the Portuguese. The inhabitants of 
Tangier, which was now between the two fires of Arzila 
and Alcacer, fearing to be attacked and lose their lives 
and property, abandoned the place, and Afonso V thus 
became its master without bloodshed. He then added a 
new title to his crown, styling himself King of Portugal 
and the Algarves on this side (of the Strait) and beyond 
the sea, and notified the Pope and his brother sovereigns 
thereof. Goes remarks that Andalusia reaped the chief 
benefit by the change of ownership of Arzila, because 
the province became safe from Moorish raids now that 
all the keys of the Strait were in Christian hands, and 
he states that the people shewed their satisfaction by 
entertaining members of the expedition who crossed 
over and returned to their homes by the land route. 

The capture of Arzila and Tangier forms the subject 
for an epic by Vasco Mousinho de Quevedo, entitled 
Afonso Africano, a title which the King won by his 
crusading exploits and by which he is known to this 
day. Though the poem went through three editions, it 
is now read only by professed students of literature, 
while the tapestries, by their admirable design and 
colouring, give pleasure to all who see them. 1 It is 
believed that the drawings for them were made by 

1 Portions are reproduced by Dr. Reynaldo dos Santos in As taptgarias 
da tornado, de Arzila (1925) and in VArt portugais de Ffyoque des grandes 
d&atfvertes (Paris, 1931). 

177 12 



THE PORTUGUESE PIONEERS 

Nuno Gongalves, painter to Afonso V, and that they 
were woven in Flanders, perhaps at Tournai, and 
taken to Spain in the time of the Philips, between 1580 
and 1628. Their removal from Portugal saved them 
from the fate of the other famous tapestries and the 
spoils of the East which adorned the Royal Palace in 
the great square of Lisbon by the Tagus, and perished 
in the great earthquake of 1755. They form one of 
the few historical sets of the fifteenth century which 
still exist, and are documents of high value for the 
history and iconography of the time. They contain 
Afonso's device, a mill-wheel with drops of water 
scattered round it, symbolical of his love for his wife 
and regret at her death, which is further shewn by the 
motto Jamais\ he could never forget her. The Pastrana 
tapestries also depict the occupation of Tangier, the 
evacuation of the city by the Moors and the entry of 
the Portuguese army into the town. 

The attempt to found a dominion in Morocco did 
not end with Afonso V, and it was followed up by 
John II and Manoel I, with the persistency and con- 
tinuity which marks the foreign policy of the House 
of Aviz. In 1489 John endeavoured to found a town 
on the banks of the river Larache, which he designed 
to name Graciosa, thinking it would be a useful base 
of operations against Fez, and sent out two small ex- 
peditions for the purpose. But no sooner was a fort 
erected there than it was besieged by the King of Fez, 
who blocked the river and reduced the garrison to 
extremities, so that the place had to be evacuated. 

In the following year Targa was taken by a force 
from Ceuta and destroyed; while in 1505, under 
Manoel I, Agadir fell into the hands of the Portuguese, 
who in 1506 built a castle in front of Mogador, of 



THE TWENTY YEARS AFTER PRINCE HENRY S DEATH 

which Diogo de Azambuja was made governor, and 
in 1508 he took possession of the neighbouring town 
of SafiL In 1 509 Mazagao fell, and in 1 5 1 3 the Duke of 
Braganza, with a fleet of 400 vessels carrying 1 5,000 
men, conquered Azamor. The Portuguese thus became 
masters of the principal coast towns of Morocco from 
Alcacer-Seguer in the Mediterranean to Agadir near 
Cape Guer on the Atlantic, but the maintenance of 
these places proved a heavy burden in men and money. 
They had to suffer constant attacks, the tribute received 
and the trade done did not pay for their upkeep, 
and food for the garrisons had often to be purchased 
abroad and transported there. Moreover, their conquest 
aroused a strong nationalist feeling against the Christian 
intruders, and when Morocco became united under one 
sovereign and the Portuguese could no longer play off 
one ruler against another, their position became very 
difficult. Even before that event, John III had decided 
for economic reasons to abandon Azamor, Safi and 
Alcacer-Seguer, to withdraw from the outskirts of 
Ceuta, and to concentrate his forces in Tangier and 
Arzila. He accordingly applied to the Pope for per- 
mission to demolish the churches and monasteries in 
the places to be given up, to save them from profana- 
tion, and after the siege of Safi in 1534 he asked the 
opinion of the City Council of Lisbon and other bodies 
on his project. Nothing, however, was done for the 
moment, but in 1541 the Moors retook Agadir, and 
this event perhaps induced the King to act, for in the 
following year he withdrew from Safi and Azamor and 
in 1549 from Alcacer-Seguer and Arzila. Thus only 
Ceuta, Tangier and Mazagao were left in Portuguese 
hands. The first remained Spanish after the Revolution 
of 1 640, beingthe only part of the Portuguese dominions 

179 



THE PORTUGUESE PIONEERS 

which did not recognise John IV. Tangier was ceded 
to England in 1661, as part of the dowry of Catherine 
of Braganza on her marriage to Charles II, and finally 
Mazagao reverted to the Moors in 1769, 

After Henry's death, the progress of discovery 
suffered a temporary, but not unnatural check. A small 
country like Portugal with a population of about 
1,000,000 had ample scope for its trading energies on 
the mainland of Africa and in the islands, and private 
enterprise could not be expected to go farther afield 
without encouragement from above and a likelihood 
of profit. All that the Infant Fernando, Henry's heir, 
could do up to his death in 1470 was to complete the 
discovery of the Cape Verde Archipelago, since his 
uncle had left him heavy debts, the price of his services 
to Christianity and knowledge. State aid would have 
enabled the work of exploration to continue, if a com- 
petent director had existed, but neither Fernando nor 
yet Afonso V had Henry's personality, and both of 
them, as we have seen, were bent on conquests in 
Morocco, costly enterprises which, with the King's 
generous grants to the nobility, left him ever impecuni- 
ous. But the Henrician tradition survived, and it is not 
surprising that the only voyage we hear of made by the 
Portuguese in the next decade was one by a squire of 
Henry, Pedro de Sintra, which is related by Cadamosto, 1 

The latter obtained an account of it from a young 
Portuguese who had been his secretary and who, after 
accompanying Sintra, returned to Cadamosto, who 
still resided at Lagos. According to his story, the King 
sent Sintra out in 1462 in command of two caravels 
with orders to go farther ahead down the coast of the 

1 The account is printed by Signer Caddeo, op. at. p. 283 et seq. 
1 80 



THE TWENTY YEARS AFTER PRINCE HENRY S DEATH 

negroes and find new countries, and he went first to the 
two large inhabited islands, discovered by Cadamosto 
in his second voyage, at the mouth of the Rio Grande, 
on one of which some of his men landed. In the huts of 
reeds they found some wooden figures, which led them 
to think that the blacks were idolaters, but as they were 
unable to hold any conversation with them, through 
ignorance of the language, they returned to the ships 
and proceeded on their voyage. After sailing forty miles, 
they reached the mouth of a large river, about three 
or four miles in breadth, called Besegue, from the name 
of the chief who lived at its mouth; 1 and 140 miles 
farther on they came to a cape which they called Cape 
Verga, and eighty miles beyond to another cape, which 
the sailors all agreed was the highest they had ever seen. 
It was covered with beautiful green trees, and had at 
its summit a point shaped like a diamond. In honour 
of Henry, and in memory of his place of residence, they 
gave it the name of Cape Sagres. The people worshipped 
wooden images in the shape of men, to which at meal- 
times they offered food; they were tawny rather than 
black, and had figures branded on their faces and 
bodies. They had no clothes, but simply wore pieces of 
the bark of trees in front of them. They possessed no 
arms, for they had no iron in their country* They lived 
on rice, honey and vegetables, such as beans and kidney- 
beans, larger than those of Europe. They had also beef 
and goats' flesh, but in no great quantity. Near the cape 
were two little islands, one about six miles distant, the 
other eight,* too small to be inhabited, but thickly 
covered with trees. Those who lived on this river used 
very large canoes, each carrying from thirty to forty 

1 Bezeguictie. 
2 The isles of Los, a corruption of idoks (idols). 

181 



THE PORTUGUESE PIONEERS 

men, who rowed standing, without rowlocks. They 
had their ears pierced, and wore in them a variety of 
gold rings; both the men and the women also had the 
cartilage of their noses pierced and a ring passed 
through, like buffaloes in Italy, but these they took off 
when they ate. 

About forty miles beyond Cape Sagres they found 
another river, the San Vicente, about four miles broad 
at the mouth, and some five miles farther they came 
to another river, called Rio Verde, yet broader at the 
mouth than the San Vicente. The country and the coast 
were very mountainous, but everywhere there was good 
anchorage. Twenty-four miles on was another pro- 
montory, which they called Cape Ledo, or Joyous, on 
account of the beauty and verdure of the country. 
Farther on was a lofty mountain range extending fifty 
miles, covered with lofty trees, at the end of which, at 
about eight miles out at sea, were three little islands, 
the largest about ten or twelve miles in circumference. 
These they called the Selvagens, and the mountain 
they called Sierra Leone, on account of the roaring of 
the thunder which was constantly heard on its cloud- 
capped summit. 1 

Beyond Sierra Leone the coast was low, and thirty 
miles on they found a large river, three miles broad at 
its mouth, which they called Rio Roxo, or Red river, 
because, passing through a red soil, it assumed that 
colour. Farther on was a cape, also of red colour, which 
they named Cape Roxo; and about eight miles out to sea, 
an uninhabited island, which for the same reason they 
called Ilha Roxa. In this island the north star seemed 
to be about the height of a man above the sea* Beyond 

1 Sintra, however, told Duarte Pacheco that he gave this name because 
the land was so wild (Esmeraldo, cap. 33). 

182 



THE TWENTY YEARS AFTER PRINCE HENRY*S DEATH 

Cape Roxo they discovered a kind of gulf, into which 
flowed a large river, and this they named Santa Maria 
das Neves (St. Mary of the Snows), because of the day 
when they reached it. They saw it on 2 July, the Feast 
of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin. On the other 
side of the river was a point, and opposite that, a little 
way out at sea, a small island. The gulf was full of sand- 
banks, running ten or twelve miles along the coast. 
The sea broke there with great violence, and there was a 
very powerful current, both at the ebb and flow of the 
tide. They called this island Ilha dos Bancos, on account 
of the sand-banks. 

Twenty-four miles beyond this island was a great 
cape, called Santa Anna, because it was discovered on 
her day, 26 July. Sixty miles beyond they found another 
river, which they called Rio das Palmas, on account of 
the many palms which grew on its banks; but its mouth, 
though of considerable breadth, was full of sand-banks, 
which made it very dangerous. This was the nature of 
the coast the whole distance from Cape Santa Anna to 
this river. About seventy miles farther they discovered 
another small river, which they called Rio dos Fumos, 
because when they discovered it they could see nothing 
on land but smoke produced by the natives. Twenty- 
four miles beyond this river they discovered a cape 
jutting out into the sea, which they called Cabo do 
Monte, because beyond it they saw a very lofty moun- 
tain. Coasting thence for sixty miles, they saw another 
small cape, not very high, but similarly capped by a hill; 
this they called Mesurado.They were then off the land 
we know as Liberia, and at this point they observed a 
great number of fires, which the blacks had lighted on 
sighting the ships, the like of which they had never seen 
before. Sixteen miles beyond this cape there was a wood 

183 



THE PORTUGUESE PIONEERS 

of very green trees, reaching down to the sea, and this 
they called the Bosque de Santa Maria, or St. Mary's 
Grove. 

The caravels came to anchor beyond this wood, and 
a few small canoes, with two or three naked men in 
each, approached. Some of the latter had their noses and 
ears pierced and parts of what seemed to be human 
teeth hanging on their necks. Three boarded a caravel, 
and the Portuguese captured one to take home by the 
King's order, so that by means of other blacks in 
Portugal information might be obtained respecting his 
country. When they arrived with him, a negress, the 
slave of a Lisbon citizen, was able to understand him, 
and he told the King various things, among them that 
live unicorns were found there. Some months later, 
after letting him see something of his realm, the King 
sent him back with a present of clothes. 

Cadamosto informs us that no other ship had gone 
farther down that coast up to the period of his depar- 
ture from Portugal, on i February 1463. 

After this voyage seven years passed before the King 
could give attention to the continuance of his uncle's 
work; but when he did so, he adopted a new policy 
which gave excellent results. In 1469 he farmed out 
the royal rights in the trade of the Guinea coast to a 
wealthy citizen of Lisbon, Fernao Gomes, for five years, 
at an annual rent of 200 milreis, on condition that he 
should discover 100 leagues of coast every year, start- 
ing from Sierra Leone. All the ivory was to go to the 
King at 1500 reis the quintal, and as a great favour 
Gomes had permission to buy one civet-cat 1 yearly. The 
trade of the coast opposite to the Cape Verde islands 

1 Tliis animal produces an aromatic substance much sought after for the 
manufacture of perfumes, and also used in therapeutics. 

184 



THE TWENTY YEARS AFTER PRINCE HENRY*S DEATH 

and that of Arguim was excluded from the contract, be- 
cause the former had been granted to the islanders in 
14665 while the latter already belonged to Prince John; 
but later on Gomes took a lease of it at the annual rent 
of 100 milreis}- Gomes chose competent men and a rapid 
advance was made. Soeiro da Costa reached the river of 
his name near Axem, where King Manoel afterwards 
had a fortress built to protect the trade in gold; John 
de Santarem and Pero de Escolar, knights of the royal 
household, with their pilots, Martim Fernandes and 
Alvaro Esteves, pushed on to Mina (our Elmina); 
Fernando P6 lighted on the island in the Gulf of Guinea 
which bears his name ; while the coast was followed from 
Benin to the Cameroons. It was then found to turn 
south, which put another obstacle in the way to India. 
But notwithstanding this disappointment, the mariners 
persisted, and Lopo Gon?alves crossed the equator, 
while Ruy de Sequeira went on to Cape St. Catherine, 
two degrees south of the line. On his homeward voyage 
he seems to have encountered the islands of St. Thomas 
and Prince, the latter of which took its name from 
Prince John, the future John IL 

Thus in a few years a large extent of Africa from 
Liberia to Gabon had been skirted, which included the 
countries subsequently known as the Ivory Coast, the 
Gold Coast, Dahomey, Nigeria and the Cameroons, and 
islands far out at sea had been discovered. But un- 
fortunately no details of these voyages have been pre- 
served and their dates are uncertain. Gomes added to 
his wealth by the contract and used it patriotically. He 
served the King at Ceuta and in the captures of Alcacer, 
Arzila and Tangier, and was rewarded with a knight- 
hood and a grant of arms. 

1 Barros, Asia, dec. I, bk. ii, cap. 2, 

185 



THE PORTUGUESE PIONEERS 

At the same time progress was made in another direc- 
tion at the instigation of Portugal, though not under her 
flag. The voyage of Vallarte (Wollert) and his death in 
Guinea has been described in a former chapter. Henry 
gave him the leadership of an expedition down the 
African coast, and ten years later we find another Dane 
in Portugal, one Laaland, a pursuivant, who took part 
in the expedition of 1458 against Alcacer. He seems to 
have stayed some years at the court of Afonso V. Dr. 
Sofus Larsen 1 thinks that he came in consequence of an 
official invitation from the Prince, and that the latter 
had long been in touch with the rulers of the Northern 
country, owing to his relationship; for Philippa, wife 
of Erik, King of Denmark from 1412 to 1439, was his 
cousin. However this may be, when Laaland was about 
to return home, Afonso, on n July 1461, the year 
after Henry's death, wrote a letter to Christian I of 
Denmark in which he commended his gallantry in 
Africa, stated that he had knighted him for it, and asked 
Christian to shew him favour and give him advance- 
ment. 

Eleven years afterwards, Christian, at the request of 
Afonso, sent out an expedition to the Arctic regions. 
Dr. Larsen thinks that he did so in pursuit of a design of 
Henry to try and find a northerly route to the Indies, 
and that the Prince obtained the idea from a passage in 
a work of the Danish geographer Claudius Clavus, who 
cites a statement by Mandeville that he had sailed from 
China to Norway. Dr. Larsen supposes that Henry 
may have received a copy of the book of Clavus from 
King Erik. The facts are that, according to a letter of 

1 "La decouverte du continent de rAmerique septentrionale en 1472-3 
par les Danois et les Portugais*, in the Bulletin of the Lisbon Academy of 
Sciences, voL xv. p. 2145 The Discovery of North America Twenty Tears 
before Columbus (Copenhagen, 1925). 

186 



THE TWENTY YEARS AFTER PRINCE HENRY*S DEATH 

Carsten Grib to Christian III, two Danish seamen, 
Pining and Pothorst, were sent by Christian I to dis- 
cover new islands and lands in the Arctic seas, with Jon 
Skolp * as their pilot. The first was Christian's admiral, 
and they appear to have started from Iceland and were 
probably accompanied by Joao Vaz Corte Real, and 
Alvaro Martins Homem, who in 1 474 are stated to have 
been given captaincies in Terceira as a reward for a 
voyage they had made to the terra de bacalhfto, that is 
Newfoundland, by the King's orders. The two latter 
would have acted as pilots, for there is no record of any 
previous Danish expedition to those parts* Dr. Larsen 
holds from the evidence of a map published in Paris in 
1551 that the expedition not only visited Greenland, but 
reached the mouth of the St. Lawrence, 2 and refers his 
readers to an inscription on the map of 1537 executed 
by Gemma Frisius and Mercaton The supposed dis- 
covery may need confirmation, but the despatch of the 
expedition at the request of Afonso V is remarkable, 
even if the object was not to look for another way to the 
Indies, a matter which would interest Portugal rather 
than Denmark. Moreover if Joao Vaz Corte Real took 
part in it, the voyages of his sons in the same direction, 
to be described later, would be a natural sequel. On the 
map of Labrador in the atlas at the Riccardiana Library 
and in that of Vaz Dourado (1571) and elsewhere, we 
find a land and bay of Joao Vaz, which may well refer to 
Corte Real, Dr. H. P. Biggar has shewn that the Labra- 
dor of early cartographers is our Greenland, 3 which was 
almost certainly visited by Pining and Pothorst. 

1 The voyage of Skolp is, however, usually assigned to 1476, 

1 The reasons given by Henri Harisse for disbelieving in their voyage 

are satisfactorily answered by Dr. Larsen, 
'The Voyages of the Cabots and of the Corte-Reals to North America 

and Greenland, 1497-1503% in Revue Hupanique, 1903, p. 485 et seq. 

187 



THE PORTUGUESE PIONEERS 

The year 1474 is an important one in the history 
of Portuguese expansion, because, on the expiry of 
the contract with Gomes, Afonso V handed over all 
matters concerning it to his son John. To the latter's 
initiative we must attribute the study of an alternative 
route to the East, if the correspondence with Tos- 
canelli, shortly to be mentioned, is genuine. The laws 
of 31 August, 10 September and 4 November are 
also his work. The first of these laws declared that the 
African trade was a crown monopoly and conferred its 
revenues on the Prince; it prohibited, on pain of death 
and loss of goods, all private enterprises in the seas 
and islands of Guinea without authorisation, that is it 
gave to John the rights formerly enjoyed by Prince 
Henry under a law of 25 February 1449, but pre- 
scribed more severe penalties for their infraction. Yet 
while private individuals were normally forbidden to 
engage in the Guinea trade, they were not prevented 
from seeking their fortune in other directions, indeed 
by the second of these laws they were expressly allowed 
to do so, on condition that they first obtained leave and 
gave security, failing which their ships were to be con- 
fiscated. The object of the security was to prevent 
piracy at sea, and the enactment proves that in the past 
many vessels were secretly equipped and left port, as 
soon as a guarantee was demanded of them. The third 
law renewed and extended the privileges conceded by 
previous monarchs to those who built and equipped 
ships of more than 100 tons. 1 

In the same year Afonso V, or Prince John in his 
name, is said to have charged one Fernao Martins, a 

1 The first two laws are printed by Dr. Bensaude in U Astronomic nautique 
au Portugal d ttpoque des grandes dtcwvcrtcs (Berne, 1912), p. 273, the 
third is in the Lwros ineditos da fastoria portuguesa, vol. iii, p. 504. 

188 



THE TWENTY YEARS AFTER PRINCE HENRY*S DEATH 

:anon of Lisbon and his councillor, to consult the 
Florentine astronomer Paolo Toscanelli as to the best 
route to the Indies, and in a letter of 25 June of that 
year, addressed to Martins, Toscanelli advised the 
King to seek them by the West. There has been much 
controversy among historians as to the authenticity of 
the letter, which was known only in a Spanish version 
given by Las Casas and an Italian printed by Ferdinand 
Columbus, until the Latin text appeared in 1871. The 
letter is mentioned by Hercules d'Este, Duke of 
Ferrara, in a communication to his minister at Florence 
dated 26 June 1494, but it seems to have been unknown 
to Portuguese historians and Martins himself has only 
lately been identified. 1 The best reasons for considering 
the letter apocryphal are the intrinsic ones and they 
have been lucidly set out by Vignaud. 2 Apart from 
some information in the postscript, Toscanelli does not 
tender any serious advice on the question submitted 
to him, but contents himself with describing the wealth 
of the countries in the Far East like a story-teller rather 
than a scholar. He relies entirely on Marco Polo when 
he might have drawn from later travellers, and thus 
leads the King of Portugal astray, for in 1474 no Grand 
Khan existed, China was no longer called Cathay, and 
the cities he mentions had new names. If, notwith- 
standing these facts, the letter is proved to be genuine, 
the fame of Toscanelli may suffer an eclipse similar to 
that which has befallen Behainu 

The contract made with Gomes was not renewed, 
and the war with Castile from 1475 to H79 *g** n held 

1 Historia da cohnisacdo do Brasil, vol. i, p. 255, note. 

1 Toscanelli (London, 1902), p. 68, but cf. H. Wagner, Henri Fignaud, la 
lettre et la carte de ToscanelU (Paris, 1901), and Vignaud's reply to Wagner 
and Carlo Errera in The Columban Tradition on the Discovery of America, 
etc. (Oxford, 1920). 

189 



THE PORTUGUESE PIONEERS 

up the work of discovery down the African coast. On 
the death of Henry IV in 1474, leaving only a daughter 
Joanna, his sister Isabella, married to Ferdinand, son of 
the King of Aragon, claimed the crown and had herself 
proclaimed Queen of Castile, on the ground that Henry 
was impotent and Joanna was not his child by his wife of 
the same name, but the child of his favourite D. Beltran 
de la Cueva, hence the nickname bestowed on her 
la Eeltfaneja. This latter charge was a calumny and 
Isabella usurper, but the grandees and people of Castile 
preferred an energetic and intelligent woman as their 
sovereign to a child of thirteen who had few adherents 
and was under a cloud owing to the stories about her 
birth. 1 

Henry had declared Joanna his heir on his death-bed, 
appointed her uncle Afonso V defender of the realm 
and requested him to marry her. Moreover, as Louis 
XI of France wished to recover Roussillon which the 
Aragonese had taken, the King of Portugal proposed 
an alliance with him against Aragon which was con- 
cluded in September. Louis invaded Biscay and Afonso 
entered Spain at the head of an army. He met his niece 
Joanna at Placencia and went through the ceremony 
of marriage with her, though it could not be consum- 
mated without a dispensation owing to their relation- 
ship, and the pair took the title of King and Queen of 
Castile, Leon and Portugal. At the same time the 
Spaniards invaded Portugal, and after some months of 
sporadic fighting between the two parties on the 
frontiers, the main Spanish army under Ferdinand met 
that of Afonso and Prince John at Toro on 2 March 

1 On the subject treated in this and the following pages the chief authority 
is the learned and documented work of J. B. Sitges, Enrique 17 y la excellente 
Senora (Madrid, 1912). 

190 



THE TWENTY YEARS AFTER PRINCE HENRY'S DEATH 

1476; the latter defeated the wings opposed to him, 
but his father, who led the centre, was overcome by- 
numbers and suffered a rout, though the battle was 
indecisive from a military standpoint. 1 From that day 
his cause and that of his niece was politically lost, yet 
he still trusted in his ally Louis XI, and decided to go 
and treat with him personally for aid. Returning to 
Portugal, he had a fleet of sixteen ships and five caravels 
prepared and embarked in August for the South of 
France with a suite of 470 fidalgos and servants, and 
2200 soldiers, and when he landed at Collibre and 
during the overland journey to Tours, where he met 
Louis, he was received with every honour. No two in- 
dividuals could have been more different from each 
other than these monarchs. The Portuguese was both 
a man of books and action, like all the princes of the 
House of Aviz, but by nature generous, impulsive and 
straightforward, therefore unfitted to cope with the 
more intelligent but suspicious and false Frenchman, 
miserly in mind and dress. It was agreed between them 
that Afonso should visit Charles the Bold of Burgundy 
and obtain a guarantee from him, so that Louis might 
give his aid without fear of being attacked by the Duke; 
it was also agreed that they should both send ambas- 
sadors to the Pope to ask for a dispensation for Afonso's 
marriage with his niece. At the end of the year, in the 
middle of a hard winter, Afonso arrived at the Duke's 
camp before Nancy. The interview between the cousins, 
grandsons of John I, was cordial, but the Duke told 
the King of Portugal that he was unable to make a pact 
with Louis, who had in him neither virtue nor truth. 
No sooner had they parted than the warning was 

1 The best and an impartial account is by J. P. de Oliveira Martins in 
O Principe perfeito (Lisbon, 1896). 

191 



THE PORTUGUESE PIONEERS 

justified, for Louis sent an army to the assistance of the 
Duke of Lorraine, who was at war with Charles, and on 
5 January 1477 the latter was defeated and killed. This 
disaster dashed Afonso's hopes, for now that he was 
freed from his principal foe, Louis had other projects 
and knew that the King of Portugal had no chance of 
conquering Spain, and in fact, at an interview at Arras 
in the summer, he excused himself from giving any 
aid. 

Afonso could only take his leave and prepare to 
return home. He went to Rouen and then to Honfleur 
to embark, but at the last moment did not dare to face 
his people, and resolved to leave the world which had 
abandoned him and go and spend his days in the service 
of God at Jerusalem. One day in September he slipped 
away with a few attendants, but a hue and cry was 
raised and the King was found disguised in a village 
some way off. He then consented to return and arrived 
in the Tagus in November, and although John had 
already assumed the crown, he at once restored it to his 
father. During the King's absence in France, Ferdinand 
had reduced most of the places which held out for 
Joanna, and when a Portuguese army under the Bishop 
of Evora was defeated at Albuera (28 February 1479), 
it became clear that it was useless to continue the 
struggle. Negotiations for peace had already begun 
and resulted in the treaties of Alca? ovas and Toledo 
147980, by which Afonso and Joanna renounced the 
titles they had taken and she was forbidden to style 
herself even Infanta in future, while, to confirm the 
peace, Prince John's son was to marry the daughter of 
Ferdinand and Isabella. Joanna, whose fate was decided 
by others without reference to her, chose to enter the 
cloister and was called henceforth the 'Excellent Lady' 

192 



THE TWENTY YEARS AFTER PRINCE HENRY*S DEATH 

and lived until 1530, while Afonso died in 1481 when 
about to imitate her example. 

From the colonial point of view, it might be said that 
if Portugal had lost the war, she won the peace, for by 
the treaties just mentioned the conquest of North-West 
Africa, Guinea and the islands to the south was re- 
served to her, while she gave up any claim to the 
Canaries. Thus ended a long controversy, though John 
II afterwards sought to obtain the cession of the 
Canaries as a protection to Guinea. 1 

In a previous chapter we saw that, notwithstanding 
the grants made by successive popes to the Portuguese 
monarchs of the exclusive rights to the lands and seas 
discovered to the south, the kings of Castile continued 
to lay claim to North- West Africa as well as to the 
Canaries, by virtue of their descent from the old Gothic 
sovereigns of the Peninsula; and just before his death 
John II was about to send an embassy to Afonso V to 
protest against the exercise of his monopoly. His suc- 
cessor Henry IV allowed the question to lie dormant 
and only asked that his subjects should not be molested 
when they went to those parts to trade, if they paid the 
King of Portugal a fifth of their profits. But during the 
war the old intrusions recommenced and naval combats 
between the vessels of the two powers became frequent 
in African as in European waters. 

Alonso de Palencia, whose Chronicle of Henry IF of 
Castile gives more space to this subject, 2 speaks of the 
'insolence' of the Portuguese, who, not content with 
claiming privileges which belonged to his country, 
slew or mutilated the Castilians whom they caught 

1 Resende, Cronica de D. Joao II, cap. 35. 

* Ibid. vol. iv, pp. 127, 205, 213, in the translation of Paz y Melia (Madrid, 
1908). 

193 13 



THE PORTUGUESE PIONEERS 



beyond the Canaries, and adds that their pride went so 
far that they sought to get possession of these islands 
which belonged to the crown and four of them to 
private individuals, by virtue of royal grants. According 
to him. King Ferdinand determined to put a stop to 
these proceedings and ordered a fleet of thirty sail to be 
prepared in Andalusia for the purpose. In the meantime 
the mariners of Palos equippedsome caravels on their own 
account and sailed to Guinea, where, pretending to be 
Portuguese, with whom the natives were accustomed to 
trade, they seized a local ruler and 140 of his relatives 
who came aboard, and took them back to Spain. As they 
had acted against the orders of Ferdinand, who forbade 
fraudulent trade with Guinea, the King had the chieftain 
sent home, but the other captives were sold as slaves. 

Palencia goes on to say that as the Spanish expedi- 
tions interfered with the monopoly enjoyed by Fernao 
Gomes and therefore with his profits, he objected to 
continue paying the rent due under his contract; 
whereupon Prince John cancelled it and decided to 
send him to Guinea with a fleet of twenty sail to bring 
back gold dust and slaves before the Andalusian fleet 
could start. As the latter proved difficult to get to- 
gether, Ferdinand instructed Palencia and another 
man, Antonio Rodrigues de Lillo, to raise the necessary 
funds in Seville, which they finally succeeded in doing, 
and with the money they began to equip thirty light 
craft, as large ones were unsuitable for the Guinea seas. 
It was hard, the chronicler says, to return from these 
if the winds were contrary, and it sometimes took four 
months, while one could go out in twenty days. 1 
Palencia and his colleague had ten caravels ready in the 

1 This statement is of particular interest in view of a similar one by John II 
quoted in the next chapter. 

194 



THE TWENTY YEARS AFTER PRINCE HENRY S DEATH 

Guadalquiver when they heard that a Portuguese 
squadron ofgaleras had arrived near Gibraltar, coming 
from the Mediterranean. They went to attack it, and a 
combat took place off the coast of Morocco, in which 
the Portuguese were defeated. The latter had two of 
their largest vessels burnt and lost 100 men, 200,000 
ducats and 600 Milanese cuirasses which had been 
brought from Pisa for the war with Castile. 

This was in the spring of 1476, when war had already 
begun and the Andalusian fleet was still in port, while 
Fernao Gomes had started for West Africa. It was then 
resolved to try and catch him on his way home, but this 
proved impossible. The Andalusians do not seem to 
have been very eager for the venture. Only the men of 
Palos knew the Guinea seas, because they were used to 
fighting the Portuguese and taking the ships laden with 
slaves which they brought home. Moreover, the latter 
had powerful friends in the province, the Duke of 
Medina and the Marques of Cadiz; and the latter sent 
two caravels to warn Gomes of the preparation against 
him, and told him to use the vessels if it came to a battle, 
and if not, to load them with goods. 

When at length the fleet sailed, it accomplished little. 
It sacked the island of Santiago off Cape Verde and took 
Antonio da Noli and the other inhabitants prisoners, 
and then went on to Guinea and captured the two cara- 
vels of the Marques of Cadiz. Palencia says that it then 
divided and that one part went on its way, while another 
lost its gains ; but he does not explain how this happened 
and leaves us to wonder if it fell into the hands of the 
Portuguese. His last reference to naval hostilities be- 
tween the two powers is an account of a combat off the 
Algarve in April 1477, when the men of Palos defeated 
a Franco-Portuguese squadron. 

195 



THE PORTUGUESE PIONEERS 

We know, however, that by letters patent of 4 March 
1478 Ferdinand gave a licence to the mariners of Palos 
to trade freely with the Gold Coast, and that the in- 
trusions continued. Even after the peace Portugal dared 
hot rely altogether on written agreements, and on 
6 April 1480, following upon the seizure of a fleet of 
thirty-five Spanish merchantmen off Mina, 1 a decree of 
Afonso V ordered the crews of foreign vessels found in 
the sphere granted to him by Papal bulls to be thrown 
into the sea. 2 Not only Spaniards but also Flemings 
joined in the adventure. Duarte Pacheco relates that in 
1475 a Fl em ish ship went to the same coast and 'God 
gave it a bad end,' for it was wrecked and the niggers ate 
the crew of 35. 3 Five years later the vessel of Eustache 
de la Fosse was captured in the same parts, and the 
captain fell into the hands of Diogo Cao, who, after 
making him help in selling his own goods to the natives 
for the benefit of his captor, took him to Portugal, 
where he was condemned to be hanged, but succeeded 
in escaping into Spain. 4 

The Cortes of 1481-82 protested against these in- 
truders, and in the latter year John II had to send an 
embassy to Edward IV of England, requesting him to 
restrain his subjects from trading with Guinea and to 
prevent a fleet then in preparation for that coast from 
sailing. The expedition appears to have been instigated 
by the Duke of Medina Sidonia. 5 In this connection 
it is well to remember that the doctrine of the mare 

1 Pina, Cronica de D. Afonso V, cap. 208; Goes, Cronica do Principe D. 
Joao t cap. 103. 

* Alguns Docwnentos, p. 45. 

* Esmtraldo, part ii, cap. 3. 

* An account of his travels on the west coast of Africa and in Portugal 
and Spain in 1479-80 was published by R. Foulche* Delbosc (Paris, 1897). 

6 Resende, Cronica de D* JoSo II, cap. 34. 

196 



THE TWENTY YEARS AFTER PRINCE HENRY S DEATH 

clausum, maintained by the Portuguese, was subsequently 
adopted and enforced in its essential part by the Dutch 
and English in their conquests; even though the sea 
might be free, they argued that this did not give a 
foreigner the right to trade in any harbour, contrary to 
the municipal law of the sovereign who owned it. 

Spanish rivalry had to be carefully watched, for King 
Ferdinand supported the conspiracy of the great nobles 
which broke out after the accession of John IL Its 
leader, the Duke of Braganza, is said to have favoured 
the participation of Spain in the Guinea trade, and, if 
John refused, to have offered his help to Ferdinand, in 
case the latter invaded Portugal* 

The wars and liberalities of Afonso V had left the 
treasury in debt, and under his easy rule the Braganza 
family had come to regard itself as almost equal to the 
sovereign. The energetic character of John II, as strong 
in will as in body, fitted him to grapple with these 
problems, and the general movement towards absolut- 
ism in other countries pointed out the way. Immediately 
after his accession a question arose at the Cortes of 148 1 
as to the form in which the nobles should do homage; 
they considered the one suggested by the King too 
rigorous, and the Duke of Braganza, lord of fifty towns 
and the soul of the movement, invoked his privileges 
and sent to his palace at Villa Vigosa for his title-deeds. 
The royal officer who accompanied the Duke's agent in 
the search is reported to have found a treasonable corre- 
spondence with Castile in which the Duke and his 
brother the Marquis of Montemor were implicated, 
and he took and shewed it to the King, who waited for 
two years before striking at his greatest and richest sub- 
jects. At the same time the Third Estate asked John to 
examine the grounds on which the nobles held a num- 

197 



THE PORTUGUESE PIONEERS 

her of towns under their jurisdiction, and if these proved 
invalid, to claim them for the crown; they also de- 
manded protection against the injustices they suffered at 
the hands of the great lords and their officials, and 
suggested a number of financial reforms. In seeking to 
promote their own interests, the municipalities facili- 
tated the King's absolutist policy and he proceeded to act 
on their requests. In 1483 the Duke of Braganza was 
arrested, tried, sentenced to death and executed at Evora 
(30 May) and all his goods confiscated, and the Marquis 
of Montemor only escaped by flight. The Queen's 
brother, the Duke of Vizeu, who was involved in the 
conspiracy, received a pardon on account of his youth, 
but soon afterwards entered into a plot with some of 
the nobles to assassinate the King, who thereupon slew 
him with his own hand (28 August 1484), while some 
accomplices suffered imprisonment or death. Thence- 
forth John provided himself with a personal guard, 
which his predecessors had not needed, for unlike most 
other countries, Portugal did not suffer from regicide, 
and her sovereigns were and deserved to be esteemed by 
their subjects. 



198 



CHAPTER X 

PROGRESS UNDER JOHN II THE VOYAGES OF 
DIOGO CAO SEARCH FOR PRESTER JOHN 
THE VOYAGE OF BARTHOLOMEW DIAS 

AT the age of nineteen and when only Prince, in 1474, 
X^ John had been entrusted by Afonso V with the ad- 
ministration of 'the parts of Guinea' 1 and the investigation 
of their seas, lands and peoples, 'which were unknown 
previous to the time of the Infant Henry', as the royal 
letter of 4 May 1481 declares; and the dues from there 
became at the same time his appanage. One of his first 
acts when he succeeded to the throne in 1481 was to 
secure against rivals by effective occupation the rights 
which successive popes had granted to his great-uncle 
and father. He gave orders for the reconstruction of the 
fort of Arguim, which had been built in his father's 
reign, and for the building of another at Mina, our 
Elmina Castle. The latter project met with objections 
from members of his Council, who reminded him of the 
unhealthy climate, the distance from home and the small 
trust that could be placed in the negroes; but while 
John listened to all opinions, he held to his own. For 
him, the chief difficulty lay in the choice of a man to 
execute his plan. He needed one who combined the 
aptitudes of a diplomat, a general and an engineer, and 
he finally found him in Diogo de Azambuja. 

1 The word Guinea was then used to cover the whole of the west coast of 
Africa discovered by the Portuguese, 

199 



THE PORTUGUESE PIONEERS 

Born in 1432, Azambuja had served the Infant 
Pedro, son of the regent of that name, during his brief 
and unfortunate reign as King of Aragon, and he had 
received a commenda, a money legacy and the castle of 
Montsori for his faithfulness. During the war with 
Spain he had fought beside King John at the siege of 
Alegrete and there had been seriously wounded. Garcia 
de Resende tells us that John held him in great esteem 
and did him much honour, in proof of which he relates 
one of the anecdotes which renders his Chronicle of King 
John II a mine of information for the study of char- 
acters. When Azambuja gave his daughter Cecilia in 
marriage to Francisco de Miranda, the newly wedded 
pair were received by the King and Queen and a great 
company attended, and dancing took place. Azambuja, 
who was very lame in one leg, which he had almost lost 
in the wars, found himself near to the steps of the dais and 
the crowd pressed on him so that he could hardly keep 
his feet. The King, seeing him, came to the edge of the 
dais, took him by the hand and made him mount it, 
saying aloud, so that many heard: 'Save yourself here 
and let them call you what they like'. 1 

In pursuance of his commission Azambuja left Lisbon 
on 12 December 1481, accompanied by some of the 
leading mariners and discoverers of the day, among 
them Bartholomew Dias and John Afonso de Aveiro. 
With him went 500 soldiers and 100 artisans in a fleet 
of nine caravels, while two ureas of 400 tons each carried 
stone and wood for the construction of the fortress and 
artillery to protect it. The ureas went separately, con- 
voyed by Pedro de Evora, and were to await the rest of 
the expedition in the Bay of Beseguiche, which had 
been explored by Alvaro Fernandes in 1446, and was 

1 Cronica de D. Jodo I/, cap. 87. 
2OO 



PROGRESS UNDER JOHN II 

re-named Goree by the Dutch in 1617. They were old 
vessels and were to be broken up on their arrival at 
Mina, to support the rumour which the King caused to 
be circulated abroad that round ships, i.e. vessels whose 
length measured but three or four times their breadth, 
could not return from Africa because of the currents, 1 
but only caravels of which the Portuguese had almost 
a monopoly. In this way, says Resende, he always had 
Mina well guarded. 

An amusing anecdote is connected with this pious 
fraud. One day, when the King was at table, he began to 
speak about the navigation to Mina and let fall the 
statement that if round ships went there they could not 
come back; the famous pilot, Peter de Alemquer, who 
was present, objected and said he would bring back 
from Mina any ship, however large it might be. The 
King insisted that it was impossible, for he had tried it 
more than once and none of the ships or ureas he had 
sent there had been able to return. Alemquer replied 
that he was ready to prove what he said, but the King 
cut short the conversation with the remark : *A stupid 
fellow thinks he can do anything and in the end he does 
nothing'. When the meal was over, the King sent for 
Alemquer in private, and asked his pardon for what he 
had said, because it was necessary to spread that story, 
but he was to keep it to himself. Even with his caravels, 
the King was not altogether content, because he had not 
been able to arm them with big guns, but as he was a 
man of great ingenuity and knew a great deal about 
artillery, he succeeded after many experiments in getting 
them to carry large bombards which fired almost level 
with the water, so that afterwards a few caravels were 
able to make many big ships strike their sails. 

1 Compare the statement of Alonso de Palencia quoted at p. 194. 
201 



THE PORTUGUESE PIONEERS 

Twelve days after leaving the Tagus, Azambuja 
arrived at the bay, where he found Pedro de Evora wait- 
ing for him with the ureas. The expedition then went 
on to Cape Three Points, the beginning of the Mina 
coast, and on reaching it on 19 January 1482, Azam- 
buja began to look for a suitable place for a fortress in 
pursuance of the regimento or orders 1 he had received 
to build it between there and the Cabo das Redes. On 
arriving at the Aldea das Duas Partes in the bay that 
extends to Cape Corso, Azambuja met a Portuguese 
ship under the command of John Bernardes, who was 
taking in gold dust and was on good terms with 
Casa-Mansa, 2 the local ruler, so that his path had been 
made easy* The land was hilly and well populated, 
which presupposed a sufficiency of drinking water; a 
low and rocky peninsula could easily be fortified and 
there was a good anchorage. The captain had found 
what he wanted, and the next day, that of St. Sebastian, 
he went on shore, dressed in silk and brocade, with all 
his men in order, and Mass was said under shadow of a 
tree in a valley. There, after eating, he had a dais put 
up, on which he took his seat, accompanied by the chief 
men of the expedition, to receive Casa-Mansa. The latter 
came preceded by his musicians and countless negroes, 
some with bows and arrows and some with assegais and 
shields, and his chieftains were accompanied by naked 
pages carrying wooden stools for them to sit upon. The 
King was naked, but his arms, legs and neck were 
covered with chains of gold, and he had a quantity of 
little bells hanging from the hairs of his beard and head. 

1 A regimento was given to the mariners and explorers, and later to the 
captains and governors; so far as possible, all important matters were settled 
beforehand and detailed in it. 

2 Or Caramansa, as the name should be spelt, according to M. Rene* 
Basset. 

202 



PROGRESS UNDER JOHN II 

The captain left the dais to receive him, his trumpets 
playing the while, and the King gave him their usual 
sign of peace, which was a touch of the fingers, say- 
ing in his language bere here, which meant peace peace, 
and the captain did the same to him. His chieftains fol- 
lowed the royal example, but first moistened their fingers 
in their mouths and dried them on their breasts, before 
they touched those of the captain, which was a courtesy 
they used with kings and persons of position. 

When they were all seated, Azambuja began his 
discourse, which was interpreted by a negro, saying 
that on account of the good information which the 
King his lord had received of Casa-Mansa and the fair 
treatment he had shewn to his vassals who went to 
trade there, he had ordered him to make a perpetual 
peace, so that the place might be a centre of traffic and 
the natives be thereby enriched; but in order that the 
goods sent out might always be kept clean and safe, a 
house was necessary and he asked the ruler to give him 
leave to build it at the mouth of the river. The latter 
replied that the Christians he had seen there hitherto 
were few, dirty and of low condition, while the men 
then before him were quite the contrary, especially the 
captain, who by his clothes and appearance must be 
the son or brother of the King of Portugal. Azambuja 
declared that he was neither the one nor the other, but 
a very small vassal, for the King was so powerful that he 
had in his realms 200,000 greater, better and richer 
men than he. Much surprised at this, the hearers accord- 
ing to their custom gave themselves many slaps with the 
palms of their hands, and finally Casa-Mansa, impressed 
by the display of force and persuaded by the presents 
which were given him, granted the required permission. 1 

1 Pina, Cronica de D. Jodo IT, cap. 2. 
203 



THE PORTUGUESE PIONEERS 

Azambuja ordered the work of building to begin 
the next day, and the work progressed so rapidly that 
within twenty days the central tower was in a state to 
defend itself. This was encircled by a wall, the castle 
received the name of St. George, and a church was 
added in which Mass was said daily for the soul of 
Prince Henry; but the climate began to take toll of the 
expedition, and as soon as possible the captain sent 
most of his men home, himself remaining with only 
sixty. He stayed at Mina for two years and seven 
months, developing and consolidating his foundation, 
of which Duarte Pacheco says : 'In that house our Lord 
increased the trade so greatly that in each year 170,000 
dobras of good pure gold comes to these realms of 
Portugal; it is obtained by barter and purchase from 
the negroes who belong to various nations and bring 
it from a great distance, and they take various goods 
in exchange. The profit is five for one and more, but 
the land is very sickly on account of the fevers and 
white men commonly die here/ He adds that twelve 
small vessels and three or four ships were employed 
every year in the trade. 1 

In 1486 John bestowed on Mina the privileges of 
a municipality and added 'Lord of Guinea* to his 
royal titles, while Azambuja was one of the three men 
whom the King chose to be present when he slew 
the Duke of Vizeu. As a reward for his services at 
Mina, Azambuja received permission to add a castle 
to his coat-of-arms, and in the reign of King Manuel 
he played a large part in the wars in Morocco, 
building the Castello Real at Mogador and conquer- 
ing Safi, of which places he became captain; he was 
in fact governor of the whole coast south of Cape 

1 Esmeraldo, bk. ii, cap. 5. 
204 



PROGRESS UNDER JOHN II 

Cantin. He died on 15 August 1518 at the age of 
eighty-four. 1 

John II had lost no time in taking up Henry '$ work 
with the like zeal, but he had far more success, because 
he could use all the resources of the crown and pos- 
sessed none of Henry's patience with slack or incom- 
petent servants. He rewarded merit liberally, but 
punished severely those who proved unworthy. His re- 
sources included the large profits from Mina, and they 
enabled him to create a great maritime organisation with 
ships, pilots, cosmographers and cartographers, which 
led to the great discoveries of his reign and those of his 
successor. Henry by his crusading ideal belonged to the 
Middle Ages, though his critical mind linked him up 
with the modern world. Afonso V was a typical medi- 
eval knight, but John II earned from his people the 
title of the 'Perfect Prince/ that is after the model 
sketched by Machiavelli. Yet he sought as keenly as 
Henry to spread the Christian faith, for its value as 
an aid to Portuguese expansion and trade did not 
escape him. 

Ruy de Pina describes him as a man who sought after 
great and new achievements, and while his body in- 
habited the realm to rule it well, his mind was always 
abroad with the will to increase it. He was also a very 
solicitous enquirer into the secrets of the world, that is, 
well versed in cosmography; and he set himself to over- 
come the difficulty which had been felt ever since the 
Portuguese approached the equator and so were unable 
to see and determine their latitude by the Pole star. Fol- 
lowing the example of Henry, who had invoked the aid 
of Jacome of Majorca, he appointed a committee of ex- 

1 For his life and achievements qride Luciano Cordeiro, Diogo cTAzambuja 
(Lisbon, 1892). 

205 



THE PORTUGUESE PIONEERS 

perts, including the Jews, Joseph Vizinho and Abraham 
Zacuto, who suggested the method of calculating the 
height of the sun at midday and also prepared tables of 
declination which facilitated the work of the mariners. 
These were probably still incomplete when in 1482 the 
King sent out Diogo Cao to continue exploration. 

Like most of the early Portuguese navigators, he be- 
longed to the lower class, but his grandfather had fought 
under John I in the war of independence and his father 
had served Afonso V, while he himself knew the Guinea 
coast and in 1480 helped to capture a Flemish vessel 
which, in violation of the rights of Portugal, had gone to 
Mina to trade. 

He took out with him pillars of stone called padroes> 
which he was to set up as marks of discovery and over- 
lordship; they were more durable than the crosses of 
wood which had formerly been used and than the 
crosses carved on the trunks of trees, which had con- 
tented the early sailors of Prince Henry. The idea 
came from the King, who doubtless approved their 
design. The shaft and cube above were one block of 
stone of the kind generally quarried at Alcantara out- 
side Lisbon. The cube was surmounted by a cross : on 
its face it bore the arms of Portugal, and on its other 
sides an inscription recording the date and the names 
of the King and the explorer. 

We have only brief records of the two voyages made 
by Cao, and the historians of the sixteenth century have 
misdated them. The first of these was begun in 1482, 
about the month of June, in the opinion of Ravenstein, 1 
when he put in to Mina on his way for provisions and 
then sailed straight for Cape Lopo Gon?alves. After 

1 'The Voyages of Diogo CSo and Bartholomew Dias' in Geographical 
Journal, December 1900. 

206 



VOYAGES OF DIOGO CAO 

doubling Cape St. Catherine, the farthest point reached 
by the seamen despatched by Fernao Gomes, he prob- 
ably stopped at a bay marked simply angra in the chart 
of Seligo, 1 dated 1485, in order to water, for a little 
beyond it we find the word aguada* From there he went 
on to Loango Bay, which from its beauty he called 
Praia Formosa de S. Domingos, probably reaching it on 
4 August, which is the feast of St. Dominic; and after 
passing three other points he found, according to an in- 
scription on the chart, that the water was fresh at a 
distance of five leagues out at sea. This must have told 
him that he was off the mouth of a large river, and on 
the south bank he put up a pillar which he called after 
St. George, to whom, as the protector of Portugal, the 
King had a special devotion, and after whom he had 
named his bastard son. It was destroyed in 1 642 by the 
Dutch when they invaded the Congo. The river was at 
first known as Rio do Padrao, from the pillar, or River 
of the Mani Congo, though afterwards the Portuguese 
called it the Zaire, a corruption of the native Nzadi. 
Cao then sailed a short way up the stream and found its 
banks well populated with negroes, like those of Guinea, 
and though his interpreters could not make themselves 
understood, they were able to converse by signs with 
the inhabitants and learnt that they had a powerful 
king, who lived some days' journey inland. The natives 
came on board willingly to trade, and seeing their 
friendly attitude, Cao despatched some of his men with 
presents to the King and natives accompanied them, 
who promised to bring them back at a certain date. 
The length of his stay at the Congo is not known, 

1 Reproduced by Ravenstein together with that of Henry Martellus, a 
portion of Behaim's globe, the maps of Cantino, Canerio and one published 
by Dr. Hamy. He also supplies maps to illustrate the voyages of Diogo Cao 
and Bartholomew Dias. 

207 



THE PORTUGUESE PIONEERS 

but Ravenstein, without assigning reasons, puts it at 
several months. When he continued the voyage south, 
he discovered a river called Fernao Vaz, the Dande, 
but to judge from Seligo's chart did not see the Kwanza, 
probably because he stood out from the coast. He must 
have afterwards approached it again, for we find a 
Monte Alto marked on the same map, which seems to 
be the Morro of Benguella, and the Rio do Paul may 
be identified with the Catumbella, all the coast being 
that of the modern Angola. Next he came to St. Mary's 
Bay, from which name Ravenstein supposes with 
reason that he reached it on Lady Day 1483, and to 
the high cliffs reminiscent of a castle and hence called 
Castello d'Altar Pedroso, the name of a Portuguese 
village, and finally to Cape Lobo, now known as St. 
Mary. There he erected his second pillar named St. 
Augustine, which has been brought home and is now 
in the museum of the Lisbon Geographical Society; 
it is 2 metres 1 6 in height, having lost its cross, and the 
weight is estimated at 400 or 500 kilos. The coat-of- 
arms and inscription in Portuguese, which is still 
legible, are reproduced by Luciano Cordeiro, 1 and the 
latter reads as follows: 'In the year 6681 from the 
Creation of the world and 1482 from the birth of Our 
Lord Jesus Christ, the most high, most excellent and 
powerful prince King John, second of Portugal, ordered 
this land to be discovered and these pillars to be put up 
by Diogo Cao, squire of his household*. 

On returning to the Congo, the latter found that the 
envoys he had sent to the King had not come back, 
though they had been away far longer than the time 
arranged, and he seized four negroes of position who 
visited his ships, so that they might learn Portuguese 

1 Diogo Cdo (Lisbon, 189*). 
208 



VOYAGES OF 0IOGO CAO 

and be able to give news of their country to the King. 
Moreover to avoid any injury to his envoys, he told the 
others by signs that he was taking those men to shew 
them to his sovereign and would send them back in 
fifteen months, and as a guarantee for their safety he 
left there some of his own people. Ruy de Pina states 
that the latter had been well treated, but that when the 
King of Congo heard of Cao's action, he was very 
angry and said he would have them killed, if the four 
men were not restored by the time stipulated. The 
hostages, for such they were, included one named 
Cafuta, who with his companions learnt sufficient 
Portuguese on the homeward voyage to be able on 
arrival to reply to questions. Cao arrived back in 
Lisbon before April 1484 and received the reward he 
had richly earned. John II knighted him and gave him 
a pension, and a few days later, having decided to send 
him out again, because of the envoys he had left, made 
him a noble and authorised him to add to his coat-of- 
arms two pillars in memory of those he had set up. On 
his second voyage he also erected two pillars, the first 
at Monte Negro, which is now in Lisbon, but so much 
weathered that the inscription cannot be deciphered, 
the last at Cape Cross, which was removed and taken 
to Kiel in 1893. This has inscriptions in Portuguese 
and Latin with different dates, the first giving the year 
1485 for its erection, the second 1484, so that it affords 
no clue to the time of the departure of Cao from Lisbon. 
He took with him the four men he had carried away, 
and on arrival at the Congo, sent one of them to the 
King to ask for the release of his envoys, promising to 
hand over the other three in exchange for them. He 
said that he was about to continue his way to the south, 
but on his return would seek speech of him. The King 

209 i* 



THE PORTUGUESE PIONEERS 

released the Portuguese envoys and Cao sent him back 
the three men with presents. 

Running down the coast to the south, he got as far 
as Cape Cross in South-West Africa, 1450 miles south 
of Cape St. Catherine, and died there, according to a 
legend on the map of Henry Martellus and to a state- 
ment of the Spanish astronomers and pilots who 
attended the Congress at Badajos in 1525. Barros, how- 
ever, says that he returned to Portugal. The dates of 
this second voyage are uncertain, but he perhaps started 
in September 1485, and his vessels arrived home 
before August 1487, and even possibly, as Ravenstein 
thinks, a year earlier. According to Barros he paid a 
visit to the Mani Congo on his way back, and con- 
temporary carvings on the rock near the junction of the 
river Mposo and the Congo shew at least that he 
reached that point. 1 He therefore passed Boma, Noki 
and the whirlpools known as Hell's Cauldron, where 
the stream surges through a passage half a mile wide 
at the rate often knots an hour. It is surprising that he 
could have got his vessels through and in sight of the 
Yelala falls. The carvings consist of the quinas, without 
the castles for the Algarve, an inscription recording 
that the ships of John II of Portugal arrived there and 
the names of Diogo Cao and his chief companions 
including Pero de Escolar, John de Santiago and John 
Alves. The first had been employed by Fernao Gomes, 
and he afterwards piloted the Berrio in the first voyage 
of Vasco da Gama, while the other two sailed with 
Bartholomew Dias. The inscription is unfortunately 
undated, but it probably relates to the second voyage; 
further names with crosses occur on another part of the 

1 The article 'The Old Kingdom of Congo', by Rev. Thomas Lewis, in 
Geographical Journal, vol. xxxi, gives a photo of some of the carvings. 

2IO 



VOYAGES OF DIOGO CAO 

rock, and it has been suggested that they may have 
been added subsequently. 

The name of Martin Behaim is absent, though 
from legends on his globe and from a paragraph in 
Scheders Liber Chronicorum we find him claiming to 
have sailed with Cao in 1484; but if no other reasons 
existed to make us doubt the story, the date and the 
assertion that the islands of St. Thomas and Prince 
were then discovered would go far to prove its untrust- 
worthiness. 

According to Barros, Cao took back Cafuta as an 
ambassador from the Mani Congo and sons of some of 
his courtiers to be instructed in the Christian faith, and 
the King asked for priests to instruct his people, while 
Pina adds that he desired to have masons and carpenters 
to erect churches and houses, so that in this and other 
ways his kingdom might be like that of Portugal. The 
ceremonious baptism of Ca^uta and his companions, 
and the spread of Christianity in the Congo, are de- 
scribed by the latter historian, 1 though he says next to 
nothing of the voyages, in accordance with the policy 
of secrecy, which was continued by Manoel I, in whose 
reign he wrote. Cafuta took the name of D. John da 
Silva and returned to the Congo with an ambassador of 
John II, D. Gon^alo de Sousa, two years later, but if 
the former were received by the King early in 1489, as 
Pina says, he cannot have come in Cao's ships. 

In this same year of 1489, a chieftain of Guinea 
named Bemoi, a friend of the Portuguese, who had lost 
his throne, went to Lisbon with relatives and courtiers 
and asked for the help of John II, which had previously 
been promised if he embraced Christianity. He received 
baptism with twenty-four of his companions, and the 

1 Cronica de D. JoSo //, caps, 58-63. 
211 



THE PORTUGUESE PIONEERS 

King sent him home on a fleet commanded by Pero 
Vaz da Cunha, nicknamed o Bisagudo, who had orders 
to build a fortress at the mouth of the Senegal, because 
it was believed that the river communicated with Tim- 
buktu, one of the great inland markets. Unfortunately 
da Cunha was persuaded that Bemoi meditated treason 
and slew him. Barros says that the news grieved the 
King all the more because he had hoped by means of 
the chief to introduce Christianity among the Jaloffs, 
and thus enter into communication with Prester John, 
and obtain information about the route to India. 

John II made various attempts to open a direct trade 
with the interior of Africa. He sent Rodrigo Reinel 
to start a factory at Odem and despatched Pedro de 
Evora and Gon<jalo Eannes as envoys to the rulers of 
Timbuktu andTucurol, and others to Mandi Mansa, the 
chief ruler of the country of Mandinga. One of these 
embassies consisted of Rodrigo Rebelo, a squire of the 
royal household, Pedro Reinel, Joao Colaco and servants, 
to the number of eight persons. John II also tried to 
get into touch with Sango by way of Mina, and with 
a ruler called by Barros the King of the Moses (Mossi) 
near Timbuktu, because he had reason to believe that 
this king was a vassal or neighbour of Prester John; 
and he employed natives who came to Arguim to 
explore the interior on his account. 1 

If John II needed a stimulus to pursue his explora- 
tions, he found it in the news brought home in 1486 
by John Afonso de Aveiro. After founding a factory 
at Benin, this man returned to Lisbon with the first 
Guinea pepper and an envoy of the local king, and 
related that twenty moons' march from the coast there 
lived a monarch named Ogand, who was held in the 

1 Asia, dec. I, bk. ii, cap. 12. 
212 



SEARCH FOR PRESTER JOHN 

same reverence by his subjects as the Pope by Catholics. 
The kings of Benin applied to Ogan6 to confirm their 
election, and in token of his approval he sent them a 
brass helmet, sceptre and cross to wear, without which 
the people did not recognise them as rightful rulers* 
The ambassador of Benin also received a small cross, 
and Barros says that when, in 1540, envoys came to 
Portugal from the then king of Benin, one of them 
wore a cross, and on being asked why, his reply con- 
firmed the above statement, 1 

These ambassadors never saw the countenance of 
Ogan6, but on leaving they kissed his foot, which he 
put out from behind a curtain. This was the story, and 
the Portuguese were so anxious to locate and find 
Prester John that they snatched at the idea that he and 
Ogan6 were the same individual, because it was reported 
that both sat behind silk curtains and wore a cross. The 
cosmographers of John II, studying the matter, reckoned 
the distance of twenty moons' march as 300 leagues, 
and counting them from Benin eastwards and consult- 
ing Ptolemy and the notices brought back by the 
mariners, concluded that Ethiopia would then be 
reached* Barros tells us this, butPtolemy wouldnothelp, 
for he links the south of Africa by a strip of land with 
the Far East. It would be more likely for Fra Mauro 
to be consulted, for he shews a sea passage round the 
south of Africa and Abyssinia reaching almost down to 
it. In any case it is worthy of note that Usodimare, in 
the letter of 1455 previously mentioned, reckons that 
the confines of the kingdom of Prester John will be 
found at 300 leagues from the Gambia* 

In view of the information he had received, the King 
in 1487 resolved to send out two more expeditions, the 

1 Asia, dec. I, bk. Hi, cap. 4. 
213 



THE PORTUGUESE PIONEERS 

one by the Mediterranean route, the other down the 
coast of West Africa, with the double object of finding 
the Priest-King and reaching India. The first was en- 
trusted to Pero da Covilhan and Alfonso de Paiva, the 
second to Bartholomew Dias. 

The legend of Prester John must have originally 
derived from Abyssinia, the one continuously Christian 
kingdom outside Europe, but this had long been cut off 
from communication with the West by Mohammedan 
Egypt, and in the twelfth century, when the first docu- 
ments relating to him appear, the Priest-King was re- 
ported to live in Asia. His fame vastly increased when, 
about 1165, a forged letter was circulated purporting 
to have been written by him to the Byzantine Emperor. 
Therein he styled himself Lord of Lords, and asserted 
that seventy kings were tributary to him; his store of 
gold and precious stones was unequalled; his army con- 
sisted of forty corps, each with 10,000 mounted men 
and 100,000 infantry. At his table made of emeralds 
30,000 persons were daily entertained, while twelve 
archbishops sat on his right hand and twenty bishops 
on his left. This marvellous romance seemed to confirm 
the rumours then current about a mighty Christian 
monarch. It was eagerly received and not forgotten and 
in the next century, with the increasing pressure of 
Islam following on the failure of the Crusades and then 
with the Mongol invasion of Europe, it became more 
important for Christendom to gain the help of such an 
ally, and emissaries were sent to discover him. Pian de 
Carpini and William of Rubruck were the first, and 
they, like Marco Polo and Oderic of Pordenone, prob- 
ably hoped to find him in Tartary; and in fact they 
found more than one who resembled him, but all fell 
short of the expectations. In the fourteenth century, how- 

214 



SEARCH FOR PRESTER JOHN 

ever, contact was actually established with Abyssinia 
and its monarch was seen to be the prototype of the 
legend, although for long he was not generally accepted 
as such. In 1316 some Dominican friars sent by Pope 
John XXII entered his kingdom and made many con- 
verts. In 1391 a priest who had lived in Abyssinia was 
able to inform John I of Aragon about him, in 1402 an 
Abyssinian embassy went to Venice, in 1427 another 
visited the court of Afonso V of Aragon, and in 1452 
still another reached Lisbon. From these sources the 
true Prester John became well known, and it was found 
that he was a schismatic, and neither very powerful nor 
very wealthy. In the middle of the fourteenth century 
geographers also began to transfer him from Asia to 
Africa, and in some maps his kingdom was placed on 
the Nile, in others in South East Africa, or even near 
the Gulf of Guinea. The notices which located him in 
East and Central Africa certainly exercised an influence 
in Portugal when the voyages began. 1 

In the early fourteenth century plans were also formed 
to liberate him from Moslem toils and make him an ally 
of Christian Europe. In 1317 Guillaume Adam invited 
the Genoese to blockade the Red Sea with galleys to be 
built at Ormuz or in India, while others proposed to 
help him by attacking Egypt in the Mediterranean, and 
when the Portuguese reached the East, they steadily 
pursued the same object and finally achieved it. 

We have seen that one of Henry's objects in ordering 
the discovery of Guinea was to find a Christian ally 
against Islam, and when Antao Gon?alves left for his 
expedition down the African coast in 1442 and promised 
to seek news of distant lands, Henry said to him: 'You 
will do me a great service by this, for I not only wish to 

1 Sir E. Denison Ross in Travel and Trove Uers (London, 1926), cap. 9. 



THE PORTUGUESE PIONEERS 



have knowledge of that land, but also of India and of 
the land of Prester John'. 1 Henry learnt from the maps 
already mentioned that the Priest-King ruled in Africa, 
and this must have been confirmed by the Abyssinians 
who came to his court; and as a large part of Africa was 
then called Ethiopia, it was natural for him to hope to 
get into touch with that monarch, especially if he lived 
near the Gulf of Guinea. John II had another line of 
approach, for in the map of Fra Mauro made by order 
of Afonso V Abyssinia was placed in East Africa and 
made to extend almost to its southern end, so that it 
could evidently be reached by rounding the continent. 
At the time he set out on his expedition, Covilhan 
was aged about forty; he was a man of humble origin 
endowed with the energy and persistency which marks 
the natives of Beira. In early life he had gone to Spain 
and spent seven years in the household of the Duke of 
Medina Sidonia, where he learnt to speak Spanish 
fluently, to trust in himself and use his sword. In 1474 
he returned to Portugal and was made a squire by 
Afonso V, and on the King's death he became a mem- 
ber of the bodyguard of John II. The latter employed 
him as a secret agent in Spain to spy upon the fugitive 
members of the Braganza family who had taken refuge 
there after the imprisonment of the Duke; he also sent 
him on missions to Tlemcen and Fez, where he per- 
fected his knowledge of Arabic. Shortly after his return 
to Portugal at the beginning of 1487, John II entrusted 
him with a more famous mission and gave him as 
companion Afonso de Paiva, sprung from a Canarian 
family. The details of the expedition were arranged by 
the King in consultation with D. Diogo Ortiz, his chief 
chaplain, an expert cosmographer, Master Rodrigo, 

1 Chronicle of Guinea, cap. 16. 
2l6 



SEARCH FOR PRESTER JOHN 

the royal doctor, and Master Moses, also known as Joseph 
Vizinho. These two men were both cosmographers 
and mathematicians and are supposed to have worked 
with Martin Behaim in the construction of a perfected 
astrolabe, and they had also examined the proposals of 
Columbus. They prepared for Covilhan and his com- 
panion a carta de marear and instructions, which must 
have been oral for fear of loss, and explained the 
route they should take to the spice countries; one of the 
travellers was to go to the land of Prester John and en- 
deavour to ascertain if it were possible to sail by Guinea 
to the Eastern seas. The King did not seek for an ally 
against Islam in the person of the Priest-King as Henry 
had done, but hoped to find through him a door for 
Portuguese expansion. Barros says: 'It seemed to the 
King that by way of Prester John he might find an 
entrance into India, because by Abyssinian friars who 
had come to the Peninsula and by other friars who had 
gone from Portugal to Jerusalem with orders to get 
news of this prince, he had learnt that his country was 
over Egypt and stretched to the southern sea.* x This 
location of the Priest-King came from direct informa- 
tion, imperfect though it was. Moreover, knowing that 
Abyssinian monks visited Jerusalem, John had already 
sent Frei Antonio de Lisboa and Pedro de Monterroyo 
to that city on a similar mission; but through lack of 
knowledge of Arabic they went no farther. Nine months 
after the departure of Covilhan andPaiva, an Abyssinian 
priest, Lucas Marcos, arrived in Lisbon from Rome, 
and, from what Barros says, it is clear that John knew 
that his sovereign was Prester John. 

On 7 May 1487 the King gave Covilhan and Paiva a 
farewell audience at Santarem in the presence of the 

1 Asia, dec. I, bk. iii, cap. 4. 
217 



THE PORTUGUESE PIONEERS 

Duke of Beja, afterwards Manoel I, handed them 400 
cruzados and a letter of credit and bestowed on them his 
blessing. They journeyed to the capital, and, putting 
aside some of the money for first expenses, handed the 
rest to the Italian Bartholomew Marchioni, perhaps the 
wealthiest banker in Lisbon, to be given them in 
Valencia. They made their way there by land and then 
to Barcelona, where they embarked for Naples and 
Rhodes, and in the latter island bought a cargo of honey, 
as they had been advised by two Portuguese Hospi- 
tallers who resided there to travel as merchants. Then 
they took ship to Alexandria; there they both fell ill 
with fever, and on recovering found themselves de- 
prived of their merchandise, for, thinking they would die, 
the governor had seized it as his legal right. After some 
difficulty they obtained a moderate indemnity in money, 
bought fresh goods and went on to Cairo. Many of the 
traders with whom Covilhan had made acquaintance 
had been in India and others were bound there by Tor 
and Aden. Among the latter were some Moors from 
Morocco with whom Covilhan and Paiva arranged to 
travel. In the spring of 1488 they sailed in a small Arab 
barque to Aden via Suakin, which probably took two 
months on the way, and when they arrived, it was the 
time of the monsoon for India and the two men separ- 
ated. Paiva went in the direction of Ethiopia, probably 
intending to return from there to Portugal, while 
Covilhan embarked in what was known to the Portu- 
guese as a 'Mecca ship* of some 200 or 300 tons 
burden, and in a month reached Cananor, from where 
he proceeded to Calicut, then the richest port in India, 
containing a large colony of Moslem merchants who 
had the foreign trade in their hands and especially that 
in spices. 

218 



SEARCH FOR PRESTER JOHN 

In August and September ships from Aden and the 
Straits arrived with goods from the West, and in Febru- 
ary they left for home with pepper, cloves, cinnamon, 
rhubarb, precious stones, porcelain and other mer- 
chandise, which had been brought to Calicut from other 
parts of India and from Ceylon and the Far East. After 
acquainting himself with this trade, Covilhan proceeded 
to Goa, the centre of that in horses, which were bought 
there from across the Arabian Sea to supply the military 
needs of Indian potentates. He then crossed to Ormuz, 
the emporium of the Persian Gulf, and at the end of 
1489 took ship down the African coast to Sofala, in- 
habited by many Arabs who dealt in the gold from 
the mines in the interior. From there he returned to 
Aden in October 1490, and at the end of the year prob- 
ably reached Cairo, about four years after leaving Portu- 
gal; all these dates have been worked out by the Count 
de Ficalho, 1 but are admittedly conjectural. When he 
reached Cairo he intended to make his way back to 
Portugal, having carried out his mission, and expected 
to meet Paiva in that city, but found that he had died. 
However, he encountered two Jews sent by John II to 
seek him, one named Joseph of Lamego, a shoemaker, 
who had previously visited Bagdad, and a Rabbi 
Abraham of Beja. They brought him a message to re- 
turn if he had accomplished his work, otherwise he was 
not to rest without seeing Prester John and shewing 
Ormuz to Abraham. Covilhan was not the man to dis- 
obey; moreover, the lure of adventure and the unknown 
had probably taken hold of him. But before setting out 
again he wrote a letter to the King and sent it by Joseph. 

1 Fiagens de Pedro da Cwilhan (Lisbon, 1898), caps. 3 and 4. Ficalho 
edited most competently the Simples e drogas da India of Garcia da Orta 
and wrote the masterly work Garcia da Orta e o seu tempo. 

219 



THE PORTUGUESE PIONEERS 

Father Francis Alvares, who went to Abyssinia with 
the mission of D. Rodrigo de Lima in 1520, is our chief 
informant about Covilhan's journey, 1 but he wrote 
much later and tells us what the latter remembered after 
many years. According to him, Covilhan sent word to 
the King that he had visited Cananor, Calicut and Goa, 
had found cinnamon and pepper in Calicut and also 
nutmeg, which came from abroad. He added that it 
was possible to go by the Guinea sea to these cities of 
India by making for the coast of Sofala, where he had 
been, or for a great island having, it was said, 300 
leagues of coast, which the Moors called Island of the 
Moon. The purpose of his journey to Sofala was to find 
out if a sea-way existed by the south of Africa and not to 
look for the gold-mines in the interior. 

Fra Mauro's map shews a cape at the south of Africa 
with an inscription to the effect that an Indian ship had 
doubled it in 1420 and sailed the western sea. But the 
cape was probably only the Cabo de Correntes and the 
ship an Arab barque on the way to Sofala which had 
been driven beyond it. To the east of this southern cape 
was a large island separated from the continent by a 
long narrow strait and Sofala was placed on this island. 
Covilhan was able to rectify this error. He reached 
the conviction that the maritime route to India was 
practicable, and his journey to Sofala, coupled with the 
voyage of Bartholomew Bias, determined the subsequent 
expedition of Vasco da Gama. 

Some authors have doubted whether John II re- 
ceived Covilhan's letter. In the first edition of his 
history of the Portuguese in the East, Castanheda says 
that he did; in the second he denies it. But if John 

1 Verdadeira informafam das terras do Preste Joam (Lisbon, 1540 and 
1889), cap. 103. 

220 



SEARCH FOR PRESTER JOHN 

received it, he would have kept it secret, and even 
Resende, his intimate friend, who says it only arrived 
after John's death and the departure of da Gama, might 
not have been told. The reason for thinking that it 
reached the King is that da Gama was sent direct to 
Calicut, and Barros says that he carried instructions, 
the notices John had received from those parts, and a 
letter to the King of Calicut* Covilhan's letter must 
surely have been one of the sources of instruction, even 
if there were others* 

Covilhan took Abraham to Ormuz and from there 
the latter returned to Portugal, after learning all the 
King wanted to know, while Covilhan proceeded to 
Jedda and from there to Mecca, dressed in white as a 
pilgrim and with his head shaved. The visit to the holy 
place of Islam was perilous and not warranted by his 
instructions, and it can only be ascribed to his love of 
adventure. Even then his curiosity was not satisfied, 
for he went on to Medina and then to Sinai, to the 
Convent of Saint Catherine, where probably for the first 
time in four years he entered a Christian church and 
heard Mass* Finally, in 1493 he arrived in Abyssinia 
and there his travels ended. Either he was not allowed 
to leave, or, having acquired a wife and riches, he 
did not wish to return home. He was the first Portu- 
guese to tread Indian soil and see Prester John, and 
by his residence of more than thirty years in Abyssinia, 
he made it known to Europe as it had not been before, 
and prepared the way for the preponderating influence 
which Portugal enjoyed there for a century, thanks to 
her ambassadors and soldiers, and above all to the 
missionaries of the Society of Jesus. 1 If Abyssinia is 

1 Their works have been printed by Father Beccari in the fifteen volumes 
of Rerum Aethiopicarum scriptures occidental** inediti. 

221 



THE PORTUGUESE PIONEERS 

still a Christian land, she owes it to the expedition of D. 
Christopher da Gama in 1541, for, to quote the dictum 
of Gibbon, 'Ethiopia was saved by 450 Portuguese*. 

The expedition of Bartholomew Dias which rounded 
the southern extremity of the African continent, the 
object mariners had sought to attain for more than half 
a century, consisted of two ships, probably caravels of 
fifty tons each (though the ton of that day equalled two 
or more of ours), and a store-ship carrying food. The 
latter was an important addition, for provisions had run 
short on some previous ventures and compelled vessels 
to return home. The flag-ship was commanded by Dias, 
a knight of the royal household, with Pero de Alemquer 
as pilot and one Leitao as master. The captain of the 
second ship, named S. Pantahno^ was John Infante, 
also a knight, his pilot being Alvaro Martins and master 
John Grego, while Pedro, Bartholomew's brother, had 
charge of the store-ship with John de Santiago as pilot 
and John Alves as master. All of these were men very 
well equipped for their task." No official report of the 
voyage exists and neither Pina nor Resende describe 
it at all, and though Barros gives a brief account, 1 his 
dates cannot always be relied upon. According to him, 
Dias started in August 1486 and returned in December 
of the following year; but Duarte Pacheco, who met 
Dias on his return voyage, states that the Cape of Good 
Hope was discovered in 1488, and he wrote his Esmer- 
aldo shortly after 1505, while Barros only compiled his 
Asia some forty years later. Moreover, it happens that 
Pacheco's statement is confirmed by two marginal 
notes recognised by scholars as being in the handwriting 
of Christopher Columbus, one in a copy of Pierre 
d'Ailly's Imago Mundi now in the Columbine Library 

1 Asia, dec. I, bk. iii, cap. 4. 
222 



VOYAGE OF BARTHOLOMEW DIAS 

at Seville, 1 and the other in the Historia rerum uUque 
gestarum of Pope Pius II (Venice, 1477). W ^ notes 
stood by themselves, they could hardly be regarded 
as good evidence, in view of the mistakes in the first 
of them and the unreliability of the Genoese navigator; 
but it is now generally accepted that Dias left Lisbon in 
August 1487. He carried two negroes whom Cao had 
seized and taken to Portugal and four negresses from 
the Guinea coast, who were landed at various places on 
the coast, well dressed and supplied with samples of 
silver, gold and spices. These they were to take inland 
and shew, and at the same time proclaim the greatness 
of Portugal and announce that the ships of John II 
were off the coast in search of India and Prester John. 
It was hoped that the news would reach the Priest King 
and that he would send an envoy to meet the expedition. 
Dias also carried three padroes which he set up at places 
to be mentioned, and no doubt he had with him a copy 
of the map which had been given to Covilhan. 

He probably made straight for the Congo, and then, 
like the previous explorers, ran down the coast, keeping 
close in, and we know that he gave names to the capes, 
bays and other points he discovered, calling them after 
the day on which he reached them, or for some other 
reason. On reaching the Angra do Salto, which Raven- 
stein identifies with Port Alexander, he landed the 
two negroes, and it is possible that in Walvis Bay he 
left his storeship. Going on to the Cabo da Volta, near 
Angra Pequena, he erected his first pillar, called after 
St. James, portions of which have since been recovered. 
After tacking about for some days, a strong wind com- 
pelled him to take in sail and drove him south for 

1 Columbus claims to have been present when Dias, on his return to 
Lisbon, had audience of the King. 

223 



THE PORTUGUESE PIONEERS 

thirteen days, and as the ships were small and the 
weather very cold, the crews suffered greatly; when the 
sea was calmer, he steered east, thinking that the coast 
still ran north-south as before, but when after some days 
no land appeared, he changed his course to north and 
entered a bay he called Bahia dos Vaqueiros, after the 
cows who were kept by the native herdsmen there. It 
was our Mossel Bay. 

As he had no interpreter who could understand the 
natives, he was unable to have speech with them; indeed 
they appeared so frightened at the sight of the ships that 
they drove their animals inland, and the only thing the 
Portuguese could learn about them was they were 
evidently negroes like those of Guinea. Dias continued 
on his new course along the coast, with which all were 
very pleased and came 'to Algoa Bay, and on a little 
island set up a cross and at Cape Padrone a pillar 
dedicated to St. Gregory. The crews were now worn 
out after the storms and heavy seas through which they 
had passed, and with one accord they asked their leader 
to go no farther; they said that they had hardly enough 
food to last until they returned to the store-ship, which ** 
had remained so far behind, that when they reached it 
they would be dead with hunger. It was sufficient that 
in one voyage they had discovered such an extent of 
new coast and that they were already able to carry home 
a great piece of news, namely that the land ran eastward, 
from which it appeared that some great cape must be 
behind them, and they had better turn back to find it. 

To satisfy these complaints, Dias landed with his 
officers and some of his principal sailors and made them 
take an oath and declare what seemed to them best to 
do for the King's service, and they all agreed on a 
return to Portugal and signed a document setting out 

224 



VOYAGE OF BARTHOLOMEW DIAS 

this opinion. But as Dias wished to continue his course 
and had only consulted them in accordance with the 
orders he had received, he asked them to go on for one 
or two days more and, if nothing of importance was 
then found, he would return. They consented to this, 
but after these days they did no more than reach our 
Great Fish river, which they named after John Infante, 
who was the first to land there, and then the complaints 
were renewed, so that Dias had to yield. Both Galvao 
and Barros record his disappointment, and the latter 
says that when passing the pillar of St. Gregory on the 
return, he left it with as much sorrow as if it were a son 
condemned to perpetual exile. In fact, he never saw it 
again. On the way back the mariners came in sight of 
the great cape they were seeking, and on account of 
the dangers and storms they had passed through in 
doubling it, Dias called it the Stormy Cape, but King 
John changed the name to that of Cape of Good Hope, 
because it gave promise of the discovery of India, which 
had been sought for so many years. 1 There Dias put up 
a pillar called after St. Philip and continued along the 
coast in search of the store-ship, which he found exactly 
nine months after he had left it. Only three of its crew 
of nine men survived, and one of these, who was very 
weak through illness, died of pleasure at sight of his 
companions; the others had been killed by the natives 
for the sake of their possessions. After removing the 
food from the store-ship, Dias burned it and called in at 
Prince's Island and there found Duarte Pacheco lying 
ill ; he had been despatched by the King to reconnoitre 
the rivers on the mainland and, being unable to go 
himself, had sent his ship to do some trade and it had 
been wrecked. He and some survivors embarked on the 

1 This is the tradition, but Duarte Pacheco says Dias gave the present name. 

225 15 



THE PORTUGUESE PIONEERS 

ships of Dias, which called at Mina and took in gold 
dust from there and finally arrived home in December 
1488, after an absence of sixteen months and seventeen 
days; in this voyage, according to Barros, Dias had dis- 
covered 350 leagues of coast, that is as much as Cao in 
his two voyages. 

The exact date of the discovery of the Cape of Good 
Hope must remain in doubt, and though it is perhaps 
not a matter of the first importance, the voyage itself 
was so memorable that we cannot help regretting that 
we have no record of it in greater detail; even the two 
last pillars have disappeared. 1 We know nothing of the 
personality of Dias 2 nor of the reward he received for 
his momentous discovery, but when the King was pre- 
paring the expedition of Vasco da Gama, he used the 
experience Dias had gained by employing him to super- 
intend the construction of the vessels which were to find 
the way to India. 

1 The most acceptable modern account of the voyage of Dias is that by 
Ravenstein, in the article already cited. He suggests that the Cape was dis- 
covered in May 1488. Theal may also be consulted in The Portuguese in 
South Africa from 1505 to 1795, of which there are several editions. 

* There are no authentic portraits of Dias and Cao. 



226 




CHAPTER XI 

WESTWARD EXPLORATION 

FTER the discovery of the Azores it was natural 
at attempts should be made to explore the Ocean 
farther to the West, and rumours arose of lost islands 
which had been seen but did not appear again. Antonio 
Galvao speaks of a voyage which took place in 1447, 
and another, without date, of which he says: *It is more- 
over related that in the meantime a Portuguese ship 
coining out of the Straits of Gibraltar was carried west- 
ward by a storm much farther than was intended and 
arrived at an island where there were Seven Cities * 
and people who spoke our language, and some pretend 
that these islands and lands which the Portuguese 
touched are those now called Antilles and New Spain 
and advance many reasons to this end, which I do not 
mention, because I do not wish to make myself re- 
sponsible for them, as people used to say of every land 
they did not know that it was New Spain/ 

In the map of Andrea Bianco dated 1448 and drawn 
in London, a long stretch of land is represented some 
200 miles south-west of Cape Verde with the inscription 
ixola otinticha xa longa a ponente 1500 mia y which has 
been translated : 'authentic island is distant 1 500 miles 
to the west', or 'authentic island 1 500 miles long to the 
west', and if the former version is correct, the land may 
refer to the north-eastern promontory of South America, 

1 The fabulous island of Antilia. 
227 



THE PORTUGUESE PIONEERS 

that is Brazil, and it has been so identified by Mr. Yule 
Oldham and Snr. Jayme Batalha Reis. 1 Though their 
interpretation is not generally accepted, a map con- 
sidered to represent Brazil and dated shortly after 1471 
existed in 1500, as we shall see in a later chapter. 
Professor E. G. R. Taylor considers that the 'authentic 
island' may be identified with the western end of the 
southern shore of the Gulf of Guinea, shewn as a long 
deep inlet on a Catalan map in the Este Library at 
Modena and drawn about 1450, but an obstacle to the 
acceptance of her theory lies in the fact that this western 
promontory is east of Cape Verde, while the island is 
west of it. 2 To a practical mariner it would seem very 
probable that a Portuguese ship navigating the Western 
Atlantic should have been driven out of its course to the 
coast of South America, because instances of it exist in 
later times. Moreover for centuries it was generally 
supposed, though erroneously, that this accident had 
happened to Cabral in 1500 and that he found Brazil 
by chance. 

As a rule mariners who undertook these voyages 
obtained the concession of the islands which they 
thought they had discovered, or might discover, and 
the earliest grant of this kind the text of which we 
possess was made by Afonso V to his brother Fernando 
on ii November I457- 3 On 19 February 1462 the 
King gave the islands of Lono and Capraria to John 
Vogado, but their whereabouts was never located, 
though they were supposed to have been already found 
and not peopled. 4 On 29 October of the same year the 
King bestowed on Fernando an island west-north-west 

1 Geographical Journal, March 1895 and February 1897. 

* Ibid. vol. bcvii, p. 282. 

8 Alguns DocumentoSj p. 22. * Ibid, p 28. 

228 



WESTWARD EXPLORATION 

of the Canaries and Madeira, possibly one of the 
Antilles, which had been sighted by Gon9alo Fernandes, 
when he was returning from the Rio do Ouro. 1 On 1 2 
January 1473 the King granted to the Infanta Beatrice 
and her children an island which was said to have 
appeared near that of Santiago and had been sought 
for in vain by Fernando;* on 2 1 June of the same year, 
as a reward for his services in Africa, Ruy Gon9alves 
de Camara received the grant of an island to be dis- 
covered by him or his agents. 3 On 28 January 1474 
Afonso V granted to Ferdinand Teles all the islands 
which he or anyone sent by him might find, on condition 
that they were not situated 'in the parts of Guinea", so 
that he might people them, and also the Foreiras 
islands, which he had agreed to acquire from Diogo de 
Teive, who with his father had recently discovered 
them. 4 But on 10 November 1475 *k e King declared 
that it was his intention to include inhabited islands also, 
if they were not in the seas near Guinea. 5 

Certain facts were reported which seemed to indicate 
the existence of lands to the West, Martin Vicente, the 
King's pilot, informed Columbus that at a distance of 
450 leagues from Cape St. Vincent he took from the 
water a piece of wood carved with great skill, but not 
by an iron tool. It had evidently been carried across by 
the west wind, and led the mariners to think that there 
must be some unknown islands in that direction, 
Columbus' brother-in-law, Pedro Correa, claimed to 
have come upon another piece of wood carved in a 

1 Alguns Documentos, p. 32. s Ibid. p. 37. * Ibid, p. 37. 

* Ibid. p. 38. 

5 Ibid. p. 40. General Brito Rebello thought that this second grant im- 
plied that Teles had found inhabited islands, which could only belong to 
the New World, and therefore he applied for an amplification of the first 
concession. 

229 



THE PORTUGUESE PIONEERS 

similar manner near the island of Madeira, brought 
from the West. He said also that the King of Portugal 
had heard of large canes having been found in the 
water in those parts, and Herrera declares that the 
King had kept them and shewn them to Columbus, 
while Jerome Miinzer professed to have seen them. 
The inhabitants of the Azores related that, when the 
wind blew from the west, the sea threw up firs of un- 
known species, especially in Graciosa and Fayal, while 
others said that two bodies whose physiognomy and 
features differed altogether from those of the islands 
had been found on the shore at Flores. Herrera asserts 
that the bodies had broad faces unlike those of Christians, 
All these objects must have been carried eastwards by 
the great current of the Gulf of Mexico. 

On 3 March 1486 Fernao Dulmo, captain of Ter- 
ceira, obtained from John II the grant of a great island 
or islands, or stretch of continental coast, presumed to 
be the island of the Seven Cities, which he hoped to find. 
The voyage was to be made at his expense, but if he 
was unable to conquer them, the King promised to 
send men and ships for the purpose under Dulmo's 
command and to give him the titles of honour he con- 
sidered reasonable. This concession is remarkable be- 
cause it was an anticipation of that made to Columbus 
by the Spanish sovereigns and because it mentions the 
existence of a continent, which the former only found 
in 1498. Moreover John granted the concession shortly 
after he had refused the offer of Columbus, and it is 
suggested by Snr. J. Bensaude that the promise to send 
a squadron to the western regions was intended as a 
warning to Ferdinand and Isabella, to prevent them 
from coming to terms with him. 

On second thoughts Dulmo found that the expedi- 

230 



WESTWARD EXPLORATION 

tion would be beyond his means, and on 12 July follow- 
ing he entered into a contract of partnership with 
a wealthy inhabitant of Madeira, John Afonso de 
Estreito, by which any discoveries were to be shared 
equally between them. The latter was to equip and pro- 
vision two caravels at Terceira at his own cost, Dulmo 
supplying and paying the pilots and crews, and they 
were to be ready in March 1487. A German knight 
was to accompany them, probably Martin Behaim, who 
lived at Fayal and had married the daughter of Josse de 
Hurtere, the captain donatary of the island. For the first 
forty days of the voyage Dulmo was to determine the 
route, and Estreito was to follow. The former no doubt 
calculated that the time would suffice for him to reach 
the place he had in view, and it would have sufficed to 
take him to the Antilles, as Vignaud remarks, for 
Columbus arrived there in thirty-six days from the 
Canaries. After the period of forty days Estreito was to 
take the direction, and all the lands thereafter found 
were to belong to him alone. This agreement was con- 
firmed by the King on 24 July following, 1 and on 14 
August the King granted a concession to Estreito of the 
discoveries made in the second part of the voyage. So 
far as we know the expedition never took place, and the 
reason may be found in a letter of the governor of Ter- 
ceira to Dulmo, telling him he would lose all rights over 
the lands granted him if he left his captaincy. But its 
object was clearly transatlantic discovery, and Behaim 
certainly inspired it, for, like Columbus, he desired to 
go to India by the West and greatly underestimated the 
distance between Europe and Asia. 

He originally went to Portugal about 1482 in connec- 
tion with the Flanders trade and gained some reputa- 

1 Alguns Documentors, p. 58. 
231 



THE PORTUGUESE PIONEERS 

tion as a scientist with John II, on his claim to have 
been a disciple of Regiomontanus. The King is said to 
have knighted him and made him a member of the so- 
called Junta, or committee of mathematicians which he 
was wont to consult in matters of navigation. He paid a 
visit to his native city of Nuremberg in 1492 and there 
constructed his famous globe under the influence of the 
ideas of Ptolemy. Its scientific value is slight, and the 
delineation of West Africa, on which he might have ob- 
tained information from the Portuguese, is very in- 
correct; the Cape Verde islands are far out of their place 
and the Atlantic has a large number of fabulous islands. 1 
He and Columbus were in Portugal at about the same 
time, and the proposals of the latter had been rejected 
by John II some two years before the grant to Dulmo, 
but while Dulmo and his partner were prepared to ex- 
plore at their own cost, Columbus demanded a subsidy. 
The King preferred not to fritter the resources of the 
crown in doubtful enterprises, but to use them ex- 
clusively in following up the Eastern route to the Indies, 
the source of immediate wealth. His successor pursued 
the same policy, which proved wise, for neither Brazil 
nor Labrador produced spices, gold and precious stones, 
and the failure to find these in the Antilles led to the 
misfortunes of Columbus, 

When the latter returned from his first voyage, 
Behaim, with his friend and fellow-citizen, Jerome 
Munzer, planned another voyage to India by the West, 
in the hope of improving on the discoveries of the 
Genoese navigator, and on u July 1493 Munzer 
wrote to John II to say that the Emperor Maximilian 
urged him to seek the rich land of Cathay, for the ocean 

1 Vide E. G. Ravenstein, Martin Sehaim: his Life and his Globe (London, 
1908). 

232 



WESTWARD EXPLORATION 

could be crossed in a short time and the enterprise would 
be most profitable. Munzer added that the King might 
safely confide the direction of the voyage to Behaim. 
John did not accept the proposal, though he had both 
esteem and affection for the Emperor, who was his 
cousin-german. Indeed when the latter was imprisoned 
in 1488 at Bruges, the Portuguese court went into 
mourning, and John instructed his ambassador, Duarte 
Galvao, to spend up to 100,000 gold doubloons to 
secure his liberation. As Dr. Bensaude says, the recom- 
mendation of such a man would carry great weight, but 
it did not suffice to induce John to change his line of 
action. 

Columbus was born in Genoa in 1451 and, like his 
father, followed at first the trade of a weaver. In 1476 he 
embarked on a Genoese trading vessel bound for 
England, but on the way it was attacked by the French 
and had to take refuge in the harbour of Lisbon. Later 
on he went to the North of Europe, returning to 
Lisbon in 1477, and in 1478-79 he married a daughter 
of Bartholomew Perestrello, captain donatary of Porto 
Santo. The union of a man of such humble origin with 
a daughter Qi&fidalgo is hard to explain, in view of the 
pride of race which marked the old Portuguese aristo- 
cracy, and it remains a mystery, one of the many in the 
life of Columbus. His mother-in-law put her late 
husband's papers and charts at his disposal and, ac- 
cording to Ferdinand Columbus and Las Casas, it was 
the study of these which convinced him that lands ex- 
isted in the Western Ocean and that it was possible to 
find them. We do not know the contents of these papers, 
but they probably consisted of notes on some of the 
Portuguese voyages already mentioned and of others of 
which no record has been preserved. At the same time 

233 



THE PORTUGUESE PIONEERS 

he is supposed to have heard from a pilot of uncertain 
nationality of the existence of an island which has been 
identified with Haiti, 1 and he obtained some knowledge 
of navigation by taking part in Portuguese voyages 
down the African coast to Mina. Indeed his practical 
acquaintance with that science was derived from the 
Portuguese. He then drew up a project for a voyage in 
search, as Barros says, of the island of Cipango in the 
Western Ocean and submitted it to John II. The King 
found him a talkative and boastful fellow, fuller of 
fancies than of facts, but in view of his importunity he 
referred the matter to his cosmosgraphers, D. Diogo 
Ortiz, Master Rodrigo and Master Joseph Vizinho, 
who rejected the proposal because it seemed to be 
founded on what Columbus had read in Marco Polo 
and probably also in Pierre d'Ailly, and a second exam- 
ination by another set of experts had the same result. 
Columbus is supposed to have asked for three caravels 
to be equipped and provided with articles for exchange, 
the rank of a noble, the title of Admiral, the viceroyalty 
of the lands he found and a tenth of their produce. 
These conditions were so exorbitant that they could 
only be justified if the discovery to be made was a 
practical certainty, and unless he had information to 
that effect, they would hardly have been put forward. 
But he did not disclose what he knew, lest his confidence 
should be abused. Various reasons have been assigned 
by historians to account for the rejection of his plan by 
the King of Portugal, some of which perhaps contri- 
buted to it, but the real ones were most probably the 
following: 

1 The natives of Raid are said to have told the Spaniards that other white 
men had been there previously; and cf. a letter of Stephen Froes to Manoel I 
dated 30 July 1514 (Alguns Documentos, p. 361). 

234 



WESTWARD EXPLORATION 

1 . Columbus furnished no solid reasons in support 
of it. 

2. Even had he done so, John II, absolute though he 
was, could not have promised to invest a foreigner with 
permanent viceregal powers over lands discovered for 
Portugal (no viceroy of Portuguese India afterwards 
enjoyed a longer term than three years). Moreover it 
would have been an intolerable slight to men like 
Duarte Pacheco and Bartholomew Dias. 

3. If John had desired to explore the Western Ocean 
at the cost of the crown, he had more competent navi- 
gators among his own subjects. 

In consequence of the King's refusal, Columbus in 
1484 left Portugal hastily and in debt, to try his for- 
tunes in Spain. He was a deceiver and self-deceived, 
a mystic but not a true one, a man of immense confi- 
dence in himself and his mission, gifted with an amaz- 
ing persistency and courage. His enigmatic character, 1 
romantic life ending in failure and the extraordinary 
posthumous results of his discovery have cast an unique 
glamour over him and enabled some of his modern 
biographers to establish him in the general conceit as 
the greatest figure in maritime exploration. Thus he 
towers above navigators who far exceeded him in experi- 
ence and scientific knowledge. The Lisbon archives 
may any day yield further and convincing evidence that 
America was discovered by the Portuguese before he 
reached the Antilles, but it will be long before he is de- 
posed from his pedestal, because he gave a new world 
to his adopted country. 

1 Professor E. G. R. Taylor has an illuminating article, 'The Mind of 
Columbus', in the Hisp. American Historical Rewew for August 1921, but 
the introduction of the late Cecil Jane to Select Documents illustrating the 
Four Voyages of Columbus, vol. i (Hakluyt Society, 1930), is perhaps the 
most thoughtful and convincing study of the man and his objects. 

235 



THE PORTUGUESE PIONEERS 

In the opinion of most scholars Vignaud destroyed 
the main elements of the Columbus legend, though he 
himself thought that he had left the stature of the great 
Genoese undiminished. But it is impossible to agree with 
him, more especially when he uses such an amazing 
argument as the following: 'Columbus alone among all 
the men of his time understood that unknown lands 
must exist to the west and he only had the energy and 
perseverance to seek out and discover them; this is a 
striking proof of his superiority over all the navigators 
of his time who only followed in his footsteps'. 1 When 
writing this sentence, Vignaud must have forgotten the 
numerous voyages to the West previously undertaken 
by the Portuguese in search of unknown lands, and it 
would be truer to say that Columbus only learnt from 
and imitated their efforts. Moreover, if he went in search 
of an island the existence of which was known to him, 
as Vignaud believed, his discovery of it is hardly of 
itself a title to greatness. 

Having failed to gain acceptance for his project from 
Ferdinand and Isabella, Columbus presented it to 
Henry VII with no result, and in 1486 he resumed 
negotiations in Spain ; as they made no progress, he then, 
for reasons which can only be surmised, but perhaps 
to force a decision in his favour, applied to John II 
for a safe-conduct enabling him to go to Portugal. We 
do not possess his letter, but the King's reply dated 20 
March 1488 indicates its purport: 'As regards your 
coming here, in view of what you point out and for 
other reasons, for which your industry and good talent 
will be needful to us, we much desire it and in your 
interests, everything will be done to content you'. As 
Columbus had reason to fear legal proceedings against 

1 Le vrai Christophe Columb et la Ugende (Paris, 1921), p. 199. 
236 



WESTWARD EXPLORATION 

him for certain obligations he had incurred, John pro- 
ceeded to guarantee him immunity for his coming, stay 
and return, and ended by begging him to hasten his 
journey, which he would consider a great service. 

It might be deduced from this letter that John re- 
gretted having repulsed Columbus and desired to recon- 
sider his proposals, but it seems more likely that he 
wished to put a stop to his negotiations in Spain. 
Columbus seems to have accepted the invitation, if it 
be true, as he declares, that he was in Lisbon when 
Bartholomew Dias returned from his discovery of the 
Cape, 1 but his visit did not have the result suggested. 
The expulsion of the Moors from Spain and the war 
which followed, delayed his despatch for four years, 
but Granada fell on 2 January 1492, and on 3 August 
he started on his first voyage. 

On his return from the discovery of the Antilles, he 
called at Lisbon early in March 1493 an( ^ Jhn invited 
him to go and see him with some repugnance, knowing 
his haughty disposition. He was not mistaken, for 
according to Resende, Columbus blamed the King for 
not having trusted him, and spoke so freely that some 
of the courtiers proposed to kill him. John would not 
hear of this and, hiding his feelings, treated him with 
signal honour, as Columbus admits in his Journal^ but 
being advised that the newly found lands, described by 
Pina and apparently by Columbus himself, as the isles 
of Cipango and Antilia, lay in his limits, because they 
were not far distant from the Azores, he gave out that 
he intended to send there a squadron under D. Francisco 
de Almeida, afterwards Viceroy of India, to ascertain 
the truth, and actually ordered it to be equipped. At 

1 It has been stated that Columbus went to Lisbon to meet hi&brothe 
Bartholomew, who had sailed with Dias. 

237 



THE PORTUGUESE PIONEERS 

the beginning of April John despatched Ruy de Sande 
to the Spanish sovereigns to ask them to prohibit their 
subjects from fishing south of Cape Bojador until the 
limits of the possession of both kingdoms had been 
fixed, and to make these limits the parallel of the 
Canaries, leaving the navigation to the south to Portugal ; 
but before the envoy arrived, a Spanish ambassador had 
left Barcelona officially to inform the King of Portugal 
that an island and even a continent had been found 
towards the Indies. A war had, for reasons which we 
do not know, been imminent between the two countries 
at the end of 1492, and when the news of John's 
resolution reached Spain in May 1493 it caused alarm, 
as it was intended to do; and Ferdinand despatched an 
embassy to Lisbon to beg that the departure of the 
fleet should be delayed until the question had been 
ventilated between them and that the king of Portugal 
should send ambassadors for this purpose. John com- 
plied with both requests; but the negotiations made 
no progress, and in August Columbus informed the 
Spanish sovereigns that a ship had sailed from Madeira 
and that a Portuguese squadron was ready and awaited 
his departure to follow him. On 5 September the court 
wrote to tell him that the Portuguese delegates said 
that the ship had left without royal order and that three 
caravels had been sent to seize it. The fear of successful 
competition was such that Columbus was frequently 
urged to hasten his start and not to sail near the Portu- 
guese coast, lest his destination should be discovered. 
The nervousness of the Spanish government was not 
only due to its desire that Columbus should reach the 
Indies before the Portuguese, but to its uneasy con- 
science, for while dallying with John's ambassadors, it 
had, unknown to him, been taking steps in Rome to 

238 



WESTWARD EXPLORATION 

secure from Alexander VI a Papal grant of the lands 
already found and much more. Alexander VI, an Ara- 
gonese, had received many favours from Ferdinand 
and was only too ready to repay them, which he did 
by four bulls, all of which were addressed and sent to 
the King. 1 

By the first, dated 3 May 1493, but issued in April, 
the Pope by his apostolic authority granted to the 
Spanish sovereigns the lands and islands discovered or 
afterwards to be discovered in the West towards the 
Indies in the Ocean sea, provided that they did not 
already belong to any Christian prince. When, however, 
negotiations began between the ambassadors of John II 
and those of the Spanish sovereigns, the latter found 
that the King of Portugal intended to insist on his right 
to discoveries made towards the south and in the Ocean 
sea, as he was entitled to do by the treaty of Alcagovas. 
Sixtus IV had confirmed this treaty by the bull Aeterni 
Regis of 21 June 1481, as well as the bulls granted to 
the Portuguese by Nicolas V in 1454 and Calixtus III 
in 1456 ; and that of 1454 expressly mentioned as being 
within the Portuguese sphere all conquests from Capes 
Bojador and Non as far as Guinea and the southern 
shore, while that of 1456 gave spiritual jurisdiction to 
the Order of Christ as far as India. Now as Columbus 
was preparing to make a new expedition towards the 
South, the provisions of the bull of 3 May became in- 
sufficient, and he urged that it should be replaced by 
another. Instructions to that effect were sent to Rome, 
and by a bull of 4 May issued in June, the Pope granted 
the Spanish sovereigns the islands and continental lands 

1 Vide the study of H. Vander Linden, 'Alexander VI and the Demarcation 
of the Maritime and Colonial Domains of Spain and Portugal* in American 
Historical Review, October 1916, and F. T. Davenport, European Treaties 
bearing on the History of the United States (Washington, 1917), vol. i. 

239 



THE PORTUGUESE PIONEERS 

discovered or to be discovered, not only in the West, 
but also in the South and as well in the direction of 
India as in all other regions. He also established a line 
of demarcation at 100 leagues to the west and south 
of the Azores and Cape Verde islands, which appears 
to have been suggested by Columbus himself. Later on 
another bull, also dated 3 May but really issued in July, 
provided that the Spanish sovereigns should exercise 
the same rights in their sphere as those previously 
granted by the Holy See to the kings of Portugal in 
the lands discovered by them, but this merely repeats 
a portion of the first bull. 

In the course of the negotiations, the Portuguese 
delegates suggested that the dividing line should run 
from east to west in the latitude of the Canaries, instead 
of from north to south, which would have given the 
whole of South America to Portugal, but the proposal 
was not accepted. One of the delegates committed the 
indiscretion of affirming that rich lands existed between 
the dividing line and the southern part of Africa, and 
in September the Spanish sovereigns wrote to ask 
Columbus whether the bull of 4 May ought not to be 
modified, so as to include these in their sphere, and 
he no doubt replied in the affirmative, because he in- 
tended to carry his discoveries to the very East. The 
Pope therefore issued a fourth bull dated 26 September 
revoking all previous grants made to the Portuguese, 
though they were not mentioned, and laid it down that 
possession of territories to be valid must be effective; 
the purport of this bull was to enable Spain to get access 
to India. 

It has been asserted by some historians, such as 
Pastor, that Alexander VI served as a mediator in the 
conflict which arose between Portugal and Spain as a 

240 



WESTWARD EXPLORATION 

result of the discoveries of Columbus, while others 
think that he acted as supreme judge of Christendom 
and guardian of its peace, but neither of these views 
appear to be correct. The bulls were issued to one party 
in the conflict without the knowledge of the other, 
whose rights were seriously prejudiced, and as far as 
the Pope could do so, he nullified the work of sixty 
years and cut the Portuguese off from a goal they were 
about to reach. 1 We do not know when John II obtained 
knowledge of the bulls, but he was not the man to sub- 
to such an affront. He began by a protest to Alex- 
I, and when this proved unavailing, he resolved 
on a\war with Spain in defence of his rights; but 
Ferdinand proposed that the question should be ex- 
amined b^y representatives of the two crowns, and as 
the result \$f negotiations it was agreed to move the 
dividing line\ farther to the west, so that it should run 
at 370 leaguesXfrom the Cape Verde islands. This pro- 
vision formed nhe object of the treaty of Tordesillas 
(7 June 1494)5 apd it was accompanied by a clause to 



the effect that Pa 



pal confirmation should be sought, but 



that no Papal nwtu proprio should dispense the con- 



tracting parties 
The principal 



rom observing the convention, 
object of the treaty was never put into 



effect, nor would it have been easy to do so. The particular 
island of the Cape Verde archipelago from which the 
370 leagues were to be counted is not indicated, nor 
the measurement to be adopted for a league, and the 
delegates overlooked the fact that instruments perfect 
enough to fix the line did not exist. The determination 
of longitudes was then a difficult problem, the solution 
of which was only found much later, and, in speaking 

1 For a full discusuon of this pope's action *uide F. C. Davenport, op. cit. 
and A. Magnaghi, A Planisfero del 1523 (Florence, 1929), p. 29 etseq. 

24! 16 



THE PORTUGUESE PIONEERS 

of Magellan, Barros remarks: 'He was always busied 
with pilots, sailing charts and the height of East- West, 
a subject that has been the perdition of more ignorant 
Portuguese than the learned have gained by it, for we 
have so far seen no one who has put it into practice*. 
The treaty provided that the work of fixing the line of 
demarcation should begin within ten months after its 
date; but on 7 May 1495 ^ was mutually agreed that 
the time should be prolonged and that experts of both 
nations should meet on the frontier in the followin 
September to deliberate on the matter. But this was n 
carried out. In 1522, when the Spaniards claimed 
the Moluccas were in their sphere as determined 
treaty, the Emperor Charles V wrote to John 121 1 pro- 
posing that each of the powers should send tww caravels 
to make the demarcation, and that Pope .Adrian VI 
should send another and act as arbiter an/u that in the 
meantime matters should remain in statufluo. Some years 
later, in 1 52 8, the Duke of Braganza, iiy& memorandum, 
advised that as the line could not be ^determined fairly 
by charts, because they did not agr4 e a *id were un- 
reliable, it should be fixed by direct ot Nervation and in 
the West before the East, which shea's that it had not 
been drawn at all. 1 

In these circumstances acts of tresps iss by one power 
on the sphere of the other were inevitable, and in July 
1503 news reached the Spanish court that four Portu- 
guese vessels had visited the coast off Venezuela and 
brought back Indians and various kit ds of products. 
Juan de la Cosa, the cartographer and pilot who had 
accompanied Columbus on his first voys tge, was ordered 
to proceed to Lisbon and endeavour tq ascertain if the 
report was true. He carried out his instructions and 

1 Alguns Documentos, p. 492 et seq\ 
242 



WESTWARD EXPLORATION 

displayed such zeal in the matter that the Portuguese 
punished him by some days* imprisonment; but he was 
able to return to Spain in September and reported that 
the expedition had indeed taken place and that a second 
had been despatched in that very year, 1 No doubt the 
Spanish sovereigns made a formal protest, but it does 
not seem to have been effectual. 

According to the letter of Stephen Froes to King 
Manoel previously mentioned, the equator was in 
practice considered as the dividing line between the 
spheres of Portugal and Spain, the south belonging to 
the former power, the north to the latter. On the same 
day as the treaty providing for the establishment of the 
line of demarcation, another treaty was made between 
the same parties to regulate fishing rights from Cape 
Bojador to the Rio do Ouro and the limits of the 
possessions of the two powers in Morocco, 2 

The treaty of Tordesillas was a signal victory for 
John II because by it, notwithstanding the Papal inter- 
vention in favour of Spain, he secured the true route 
to the Indies and obtained possession of Brazil. The 
credit for it must be ascribed, not only to the superior 
ability of the Portuguese delegates, but also to the firm- 
ness and diplomatic finesse of the King himself. 3 John 
had members of the Spanish royal council in his pay 
and throughout the negotiations was kept informed by 
them of the designs of his rivals, so that he was able to 
instruct his representatives how to meet them. Duarte 

1 Antonio Vascano, Ensayo biografico del celebre nawgante . . . Juan de 
la Cosa (Madrid, 1892), p. 85. 

2 The two treaties are in Alguns Documentos, pp. 69 et seq. and 80 et seq. 9 
and F. C. Davenport, op* cit. 

3 In the view of the Portuguese and Brazilian historians, Oliveira Martins 
and Oliveira Lima, the concession gained by John II is best explained by 
Ferdinand's hope for an eventual union of the two crowns. 

243 



THE PORTUGUESE PIONEERS 

Pacheco, one of the delegates, said of him, 'his judgment 
and intelligence have been unequalled in our time', and 
Queen Isabella gave him the highest praise when she 
called him simply 'the man'. 

These eulogies were echoed by Jerome Mttnzer in 
the itinerary of his travels 1 in the Peninsula, which he 
visited in 1494. He had many conversations with the 
King and considered him a highly educated and sag- 
acious man, very affable and interested in everything; he 
says that John listened attentively to those who visited 
him and talked of their military and maritime exploits, 
but made them furnish proofs of what they said, and 
if he found them truthful and brave men, he rewarded 
them. John took care that Miinzer should see the 
Mina House in Lisbon, so that he might let foreigners 
know that he was well able to defend himself. It con- 
tained a large quantity of goods destined for Africa, 
cloths of various colours, imported from Tunis, carpets, 
bronze cauldrons, metal basins and glass beads, and 
in another part were the native products brought home, 
such as malaguette pepper and ivory; the gold had 
been already coined. Miinzer also saw great forges 
for anchors, etc., worked by negroes, guns and arms 
in abundance and well made, and great supplies of lead, 
copper, saltpetre and sulphur. He was amazed, and 
remarked that John must draw great wealth from Mina, 
and added that he was a man of simple tastes and no 
spendthrift and turned all to good account. 

His reign of fifteen years was singularly agitated 
and marked a turning-point in Portuguese history. In 
international politics it witnessed the overthrow of the 
influence of the nobles and the foundation of absolute 
monarchy, in external affairs the struggle with Ferdi- 

1 Printed in O Institute, vol. Lax (Coimbra, 1930), p. 541. 

244 



WESTWARD EXPLORATION 

nand and Isabella and a large overseas expansion. In 
all these directions John II succeeded, by virtue of an 
iron will and masterly diplomacy, but in one respect 
he failed. He nourished the ambition to see his son 
seated on the throne of a united Peninsula and to this 
end married him to Isabella, the eldest daughter of the 
Spanish sovereigns. The event was celebrated by the 
most magnificent ftes in Portuguese history, but the 
young man died of an accident when out riding, only 
eight months afterwards, and the father never re- 
covered from the blow. Overcome by grief and dis- 
appointment, he began to suffer from fainting fits, and 
a report, seemingly baseless, spread that he had been 
poisoned. 1 Many believed it, for he had bitter and 
inveterate enemies among the grandees, who had 
suffered cruel repression at his hands, and he was the 
first Portuguese king to need a guard. Nevertheless his 
activities shewed no abatement, though in addition to 
other worries, the opposition of the Queen and courtiers 
compelled him to abandon his project of leaving the 
crown to his bastard son George and name as his suc- 
cessor Manoel, brother of the murdered Duke of Vizeu 
and of the Queen* Finally the disease of uraemia carried 
him off at the early age of forty, after much suffering, 
and Resende, who assisted him in his last hours, de- 
scribes them in moving terms : 

'The King was in great pain and the Bishop of 
Tangier reminded him of many pious things very need- 
ful at such a time, and among them he touched on some 
from the Bible, whereupon John said: "Bishop, do not 
remind me about anything of the Old Law". The 
Bishop of Algarve, D. John Camello, who was also with 
him, though a very good man, very liberal and free with 

1 Ricardo Jorge, O Obito de D. Joao II (Lisbon, 1922). 

245 



THE PORTUGUESE PIONEERS 

his money, was considered a bad cleric, for he never said 
Mass, nor troubled about the Divine offices, and the 
King had more than once reproved him for it and was 
not pleased with him ; and now that he was in his last 
hour, he said : "Bishop, I am going with a heavy burden 
on your account, for love of me live better in the future 
and for the service of God and give me your promise 
to do so" ; the Bishop gave it and the King took his hand 
in token that he would carry it out. When they gave 
him for signature the bond of a rental which he had 
bequeathed to D. Anna de Mendonca, mother of his 
son D. George, and he had the pen ready in his hand, 
he let it fall and began to weep much, and when they 
comforted him, he said: "Do not comfort me, because 
I have been such a bad creature, for I was never pro- 
voked that I did not bite". Then with many tears he 
signed the bond and because they addressed him as 
Highness, according to custom, he said: "Do not call 
me Highness, for I am only a sack of earth and worms". 
Then one Francisco da Cunha of the Terceira Islands 
approached him and asked him for the sake of the Five 
Wounds of Jesus Christ to grant him a favour, since 
he was afidalgo and very poor, and the King ordered a 
bond for a pension of 30 milreis to be made out in haste 
and signed it and told him to take the silver he had in 
the house, for he had nothing else to give him ; and when 
the man left, the King said: "I can disclose it now, that 
never in my life was I asked anything in honour of the 
Five Wounds and refused it". Then he sent to enquire 
how the tide was, and when they gave him the answer 
said: "In two hours from now I shall be gone," and so 
it was ; and as he was in anguish with great and deadly 
sighs, which came upon him every now and then, he 
said: "I have such a bitter taste in the mouth that I 

246 



WESTWARD EXPLORATION 

cannot endure it", and the Bishop of Coimbra said to 
him: "Sir, remember the vinegar and myrrh they gave 
to Our Lord Jesus Christ when he was on the Cross and 
your mouth will not be bitter". The King answered 
him: "Oh, Bishop, how I thank you for this, since it 
wastheonly stage of the Passion which I had forgotten". 
At this point there came upon him a very great seizure, 
before his soul left his body, and all thought he was 
dead. The Bishop of Tangier closed his eyes and his 
mouth, but he felt it and came to himself and said : 
"Bishop, the hour has not yet come"; then speaking 
many holy words and begging them all not to weep 
lest they disturbed him, and often kissing the figure of 
Our Lord and the Cross and having his eyes fixed on 
it and the candle in his hand, fully conscious, his senses 
very clear and his vision intact, without any movement, 
always praying with the Bishops verse by verse. And at the 
last with the name of Jesu on his lips, with the greatest 
devotion saying Agnus Dei qui tollis feccata mundi^ 
miserere mei y his soul left his flesh on a Sunday, when 
the sun was about to set, on the 25th day of October 
in the year of Our Lord Jesus Christ 1495 at the age 
of forty years and six months, of which he had been 
married to D. Leonor his wife twenty-five and reigned 
fourteen years and two months; and having been very 
virtuous in his life, he ended in this manner, which is 
greatly to be envied. 1 * 

1 Cronica de D. Jodfo II 9 cap. 212. 



247 



CHAPTER XII 

THE FIRST VOYAGE OF VASCO DA GAMA 

TTT^ING MANGEL the Fortunate succeeded to the 
JI\_ throne of Portugal in October 1495 at tiie age 
of twenty-six, and, since he inherited with the realm the 
enterprise of the discovery of the sea route to India at 
which his countrymen had laboured for at least half a 
century, he caused it to be debated in the Royal Council 
the following December. Most of the members opposed 
the undertaking because India was a distant country to 
conquer; 1 they feared that the attempt would be beyond 
the strength of Portugal, and foresaw that it would 
excite the jealousy of other powers, especially of Venice, 
whose commercial interests would be thereby prejudiced. 
Some councillors, however, held a contrary opinion, and, 
as their arguments fitted in with the King's desire, he 
endorsed them. After all, Venice, in fear of the Turk, 
could only use the arm of intrigue, and no active opposi- 
tion from elsewhere was likely. 

He conferred the leadership of the expedition on Vasco 
da Gama, a gentleman of his household, who had been 
indicated for the post in the preceding reign. The year 
of his birth, like that of a distant kinsman, the poet 
Camoens, who immortalised him in The Lusiads, is not 
certainly known, but it may have been 1460; the place 

i This is the word Barros uses, but, as in the title of his Asia, it must not 
be taken too literally; the Portuguese did not seek to subdue India, only to 
dominate the coast and obtain the maritime trade in spices and drugs. 

248 



THE FIRST VOYAGE OF VASCO DA GAMA 

was Sines, a seaport in the south of Portugal of which 
his father had been Alcaide-mor. We know little of his 
education and early life, but his selection to complete 
the work of Bartholomew Dias may be regarded as 
evidence that he possessed training in naval matters 
as well as strength of character. Garcia de Resende 
asserts that the King trusted him because he had served 
in his fleets, and in 1492 had been employed to seize 
the French vessels lying in the ports of Setubal and the 
Algarve as a reprisal for an act of piracy, while Mariz, 
a later writer, says that he had as good an acquaintance 
with navigation as the best pilots. This is certainly an 
exaggeration, but as we find him landing near the Cape 
to determine the latitude, it is clear that he did not lack 
technical knowledge. This was not, however, the only 
qualification he needed, for discovery was not his main 
business; he went as ambassador to establish relations 
between King Manoel and Indian rulers for the sake 
of Christianity and commerce. Contemporary writers 
describe him as a brave, tenacious and authoritative man, 
proud and irascible; the Venetian envoy, Leonardo da 
Cha Masser, who knew him, calls him violent. In spite 
of such natural defects, however, he shewed patience 
as well as firmness in dealing with Orientals at Calicut 
and at the ports of call, and these qualities enabled him 
to control and keep the confidence of his crews in a 
voyage of unheard-of length through almost unknown 
seas. His fleet consisted of four vessels: the flagship 
St. Gabriel, commanded by himself, and piloted by 
Pero de Alemquer; the St. Raphael x&& Berrio, of which 
his brother Paul and Nicolas Coelho were captains, 
with John de Coimbra and Pero de Escolar as pilots, 
and a store-ship. The first two were square-rigged 
vessels of shallow draught, built for the voyage under 

249 



THE PORTUGUESE PIONEERS 

the direction of Bartholomew Dias, and the timber for 
them had been cut in the royal forests before John II 
died; the Berrio was a lateen-rigged caravel of the class 
used in the Henrician expeditions. The tonnage of the 
St. Gabriel and St. Raphael is stated by contemporary 
historians as being from 100 to 120 tons, that of the 
Berrio as 50, while the store-ship seems to have been 
of 200 tons; but the 'ton* at that time was a different 
measure from what it is now, and if we multiply the 
figures by two we shall not be exaggerating them; even 
so, the vessels were small and of set purpose, according to 
Duarte Pacheco, because of the banks and shoals of the 
African coast. The St. Gabriel and the St. Raphael had 
three masts, with castles fore and aft, and square sterns, 
and they bore the figure of their patron saint at the bow. 
There is a coloured drawing of the vessels in the six- 
teenth-century MS. Memoria das Armadas at the Lisbon 
Academy of Sciences. The armament consisted of 
twenty guns, some of them breech-loaders ; the officers 
were clad in armour and carried swords ; the men wore 
leather jerkins and breastplates, and had cross-bows, 
axes and pikes. Everything had been carefully thought 
out and great expense incurred, but according to the 
Roteiro? which was composed by a member of the ex- 
pedition, perhaps Alvaro Velho, and gives the most 
reliable account of it, serious mistakes were made in 
choosing the merchandise and articles for gifts; the 
former did not suit the Indian market, the latter were 
of insufficient value to please wealthy Eastern poten- 
tates. Ignorance explains the first mistake, but not 

1 Printed first by Diogo Kopke and Dr. Antonio da Costa Paiva in 1838 
and translated by E. G. Ravenstein, A Journal of the First Voyage of fiasco 
da Gamoy 1497-1499 (Hakluyt Society, 1898), who gives maps shewing the 
route taken on the outward and return voyages as he conceives it. His work 
is of great value. 

250 



THE FIRST VOYAGE OF VASCO DA GAMA 

altogether the second; King Manoel had large commit- 
ments and would not spend money without good hope 
of return; the expedition had cost him a large amount, 
and the issue of the voyage was doubtful. 

D. Diogo Ortiz, the learned Bishop of Tangier, 
supplied da Gama with maps and books, while Abraham 
Zacuto provided astronomical instruments, prepared 
tables of declination, and perhaps trained him to take 
observations. Lastly, stone pillars formed part of the 
cargo, and were set up at various points as a mark of 
discovery and overlordship. The crews, including men 
who had been with Dias in the discovery of the Cape, 
numbered 1 70, of whom one-third died on the voyage, 
mainly from the painful and loathsome malady of 
scurvy, and the vessels carried a priest, and convicts 
for employment on more risky enterprises. 1 Dias him- 
self accompanied the expedition in a caravel for a certain 
distance and then made his way to Mina. 

When all was ready for the start, Barros tells us that 
King Manoel summoned the captains before him at 
Montemor, and in the presence of some notables de- 
clared that his motive in ordering the discovery of 
India was to spread the Christian faith and acquire the 
riches of the East. A white silk banner with the cross 
of the Order of Christ on it was placed in the arms of 
da Gama, who was kneeling, and he swore to bear it 
aloft before Moor and heathen, and in every peril of 
water, fire and steel to guard and defend it until death. 
Further, he promised to serve his King in the business 
with loyalty and diligence, keeping his commands, 
until he came back, by the grace of God, in Whose 
service he was sent. This act of homage accomplished, 
he received his instructions, letters of credence for 

1 Ravenstein, op. cit. p. 173, gives the muster-roll. 

251 



THE PORTUGUESE PIONEERS 

delivery to Prester John and the King of Calicut, and 
copies of the report of Covilhan and of other notices 
collected by John II about Eastern parts. 

He and his companions arrived in Lisbon at the 
beginning of July 1497 and prepared to leave without 
waiting for the proper season, because the winds that 
served for navigation were then hardly better known 
than the land they sought. They spent the night previous 
to embarkation in vigil in the chapel of Our Lady of 
Bethlehem on the shore of the Tagus, situated where 
the Church of the Jeronimos now stands, and on the 
following day, after hearing Mass, walked in procession 
to the water's edge, accompanied by a great multitude; 
the mariners carried lighted tapers, and the citizens 
said the responses to a litany chant by the priests. When 
they reached the boats all knelt, and the vicar of the 
chapel, after reading a general confession, gave a 
plenary indulgence to those who should die on the 
voyage, by virtue of the bull of Pope Nicholas V. 
Everyone was moved, and in describing the scene 
Barros remarks that the shore, which was to witness 
many similar farewells, might be called one of tears for 
those who left and of joy for those who returned. While 
the sails were being unfurled, some of the crowd com- 
mended the mariners to God, while others gave their 
opinions about the expedition ; in the eloquent stanzas 
of Canto IV of The Lusiads, Camoens makes an old 
man voice the general reprobation of the hazardous 
journey. 

Leaving the Tagus on 8 July, the fleet passed the 
Canaries on the i^th and struck the African coast at 
Terra Alta. The vessels then parted company in a dense 
fog, and only came together at the Cape Verde islands 
on the 26th; the next day they anchored in the Bay of 

252 



THE FIRST VOYAGE OF VASCO DA GAMA 

Santa Maria at St. Thiago, provisioned and repaired 
the yards. Starting again on 3 August, da Gama stood 
south-east until he was 200 leagues out, when he met 
with squalls and the Sf. Gabriel broke her mainyard; 
this compelled him to lay to for two days and a night. 
To escape from the doldrums and currents of the Gulf 
of Guinea, he then decided to make a circular course 
through the South Atlantic to the Cape, avoiding the 
tract where Bartholomew Dias had found rough weather, 
and accordingly he steered south-west into the unknown, 
taking a route similar to that still followed by sailing- 
ships. Admiral Gago Coutinho regards this resolution 
as a proof that one or more previous expeditions, of 
which no record remains, had obtained a knowledge 
of the prevailing winds. Save for the appearance of 
whales and birds, nothing happened to break the 
monotony of the daily vision of sea and sky until 
i November, when signs that land was not far distant 
appeared, and on the 4th it actually came in sight. The 
crews put on their best clothes, fired off bombards, and 
dressed the ships with flags in token of rejoicing; and 
well they might, for they had spent ninety-six days 
at sea since leaving the Cape Verde islands. As they 
failed to recognise the land, they stood out again, and 
three days later they found a broad bay, which they 
entered and named Santa Helena, and remained eight 
days to clean the ships' bottoms, mend the sails and 
get wood. After taking observations with the astrolabe, 
they concluded that they were within thirty leagues of 
the Cape, and in fact they were only wrong by two. 
The Hottentot inhabitants of the country were found 
to be tawny-coloured, dressed in skins and armed with 
assegais; the dogs and birds resembled those 
Portugal. A native was captured, well entertained, and 

253 



THE PORTUGUESE PIONEERS 

released, with the result that many others came, and at 
first friendly intercourse ensued between them and the 
Portuguese. One day a soldier, Fernao Velloso, obtained 
leave to return with them to find out how they lived and 
what they ate, but, though they gave him a meal of 
roasted seal and roots, they would not take him to their 
kraal. An hour or two later he was seen making for 
the shore, and his shouts were heard. Da Gama, ever 
on the alert, immediately ordered out a boat to take 
him off, but he was rescued with difficulty, because the 
natives, who had suddenly become hostile, followed 
him up, and, hurling their assegais, wounded the 
Captain-major and some others. Camoens describes the 
episode with a touch of humour; he tells how when 
Velloso, who was a braggart, arrived on board, one of 
his companions said to him, 'That hill is better to come 
down than to climb* ; to which the adventurer replied 
with ready wit, 'It is, but when I saw so many of those 
dogs coming on, I hastened my pace, remembering that 
you were without me'. 

On the 1 6th the voyage was resumed, but owing to 
contrary winds the Portuguese were unable to double 
the Cape until the 22nd, though they descried it on 
the 1 8th; on the 25th the fleet anchored in Mossel 
Bay, where they remained thirteen days, broke up the 
store-ship and transferred its contents to the other 
vessels. The natives had shewn hostility to Bartholomew 
Dias, but da Gama found them well disposed; they gave 
him ivory bracelets in exchange for small bells and red 
caps, and sold him one of the fat oxen they were ac- 
customed to ride, which proved as toothsome as the 
beef of Portugal. Both sides danced, the natives on 
shore to the sound of flutes, the mariners in their boats, 
and the Captain-major joined in the sport. Later on, 

254 



THE FIRST VOYAGE OF VASCO DA GAMA 

however, a difference arose; the natives accused the 
Portuguese of taking their water for the ships, and fol- 
lowed them up as though to attack, whereupon, to shew 
his power, da Gama landed an armed party and had two 
bombards fired, the noise of which sent them helter- 
skelter into the bush with their cattle. A cross and pillar., 
were set up on an island in the bay, but when the fleet 
was about to leave, the natives were observed to be 
demolishing them, 

On the Feast of the Immaculate Conception da 
Gama set sail, and presently encountered one of the 
storms common in those latitudes, which compelled him 
to run with bare poles ; according to Barros, the danger 
of shipwreck was such that the crews thought more of 
bewailing their sins than of attending to the navigation. 
Eight days later the Great Fish river, the farthest point 
reached by Dias, was passed. During the next few days 
the Agulhas current bore the vessels back, but a stern 
wind enabled them to overcome it, and on Christmas Day 
they came to a land which received the name of Natal ; 
seventy leagues of fresh coast had been discovered. 

Possibly to shorten his course, da Gama now stood 
out from the land, and so far, that drinking-water began 
to fail, the food had to be cooked with salt water, and 
he was driven to seek a port. On 1 1 January 1498, put- 
ting in near the entrance of a small river, he was so 
well received that he named it the Land of Good Folk. 
It was densely populated, and seemed to the Portuguese 
to contain more women than men, because for every 
twenty males who came to see them there were forty 
females ; perhaps curiosity was stronger in the weaker 
sex. As copper was plentiful, and the natives bartered it 
for shirts, da Gama named the stream Copper river. 
After a stay of five days, he continued his voyage, and 



THE PORTUGUESE PIONEERS 

soon passed Cape Correntes, so called from the currents 
that sweep round it. 

Da Gama had now left the country of primitive 
savages behind and was about to come into contact with 
Mohammedan civilisation in the coast towns of East 
Africa, centres of trade in the gold and ivory of the 
interior, inhabited by a mixed race, partly Arab and 
Persian, partly indigenous ; of these places the most im- 
portant were Sofala, Mozambique, Kilwa, Mombasa and 
Malindi. He passed far eastward of the first and, on 2 5 
January, arrived off the Rio de Bons Signaes, Kilimane, 
where, according to the Roteiro, the people took delight 
in the visitors, bringing out their wares to sell, while the 
Portuguese visited their villages to get water. One of 
the natives who went on board had come from a far 
country and seen big ships before; this gladdened the 
hearts of the mariners, for it led them to believe that 
they were approaching their destination. Unfortunately, 
during the thirty-two days they spent there careening 
their vessels, many of the crews fell ill, and some died 
of scurvy. On this occasion Paul da Gama, Vasco's 
brother, shewed his kindly disposition by visiting the 
sick and distributing among them the medicines he had 
brought for his own use. After setting up a pillar, which 
was named St. Raphael because it had been carried in 
that ship, the fleet went on its way, and anchored in the 
roadstead of Mozambique on 2 March ; boats at once 
surrounded the vessels, and, assuming the new-comers 
to be Moslems, as they were themselves, the natives 
came on board freely and partook of Portuguese hospi- 
tality. Through an interpreter da Gama heard that they 
traded with Arabs, four of whose vessels, laden with 
gold, silver, jewels and spices, were then in the port, that 
these commodities abounded farther on, so that there 

256 



THE FIRST VOYAGE OF VASCO DA GAMA 

was no need to purchase them, and that precious stones 
could be collected in baskets ! He also learnt that there 
was a rich island, half of whose people were Christians, 
and that Prester John lived in the interior, but held 
many cities along the coast, tidings which made the 
Portuguese weep for joy. The author of the Roteiro ob- 
serves that the vessels he saw were large and decked, 
but had no nails, the planks being held together by 
cords; the sails were made of palm-matting. Their 
mariners used the mariner's compass, quadrant and 
navigating charts. 

The Sultan of Mozambique had been forewarned of 
the creed of the visitors, but came aboard the fleet and 
made a show of friendship ; he supplied the two pilots 
he was asked for, and da Gama prudently arranged with 
them that one should always remain on board when the 
other landed. On 10 March the ships moved out to the 
island of St. George, a pillar was set up, Mass was said 
and, the season being Lent, some of the crews con- 
fessed and received Holy Communion. The natives 
were now all aware that they had to deal with Christians ; 
one of the pilots could only be kept on board by force, 
and the other escaped. An attempt was made to induce 
da Gama to come nearer to the town, with a view to 
seizing the vessels, but he discovered the plot, and 
started away; however, currents and lack of wind pre- 
vented much progress and the need of water compelled 
him to return. In the meantime the Moors had con- 
structed a palisade in defence of the springs, and when 
the Portuguese landed, they were attacked. In reply, 
da Gama bombarded the place and, after securing 
water, departed. On the way the Moorish pilot who 
had lied was flogged by order of the Captain-major and, 
perhaps in revenge, took him past Kilwa, which he 

257 n 



THE PORTUGUESE PIONEERS 

wished to visit, keeping off the coast until they arrived 
at Mombasa on 7 April. Here fresh treachery awaited 
them; the Portuguese had been told that the city con- 
tained Christians, which made them anxious to go on 
shore to hear Mass with them, but on the night of 
their arrival 100 men armed with cutlasses attempted 
to board da Gama's ship. The next day, Palm Sunday, 
the King sent presents by two feigned Christians, and 
invited the Captain-major to enter the harbour, where- 
upon the latter despatched envoys to ratify these peace- 
ful assurances; they were conducted to the house of 
supposed Christian merchants, who shewed them a 
paper containing a drawing of the Holy Ghost in proof 
of good faith. Da Gama was actually moving his vessels 
into port when a slight collision obliged the /. Gabriel 
to anchor, whereupon the Moslem pilots, thinking 
their design discovered, jumped into the sea, and 
when some men whom Paulo da Gama had captured at 
Mozambique were put to the torture, they confessed 
that orders had been given to seize the fleet. At mid- 
night armed swimmers tried to cut the cable of the 
Berrio, but were detected. Even then da Gama stayed 
two days longer in the hope of getting a fresh pilot, 
but as he failed in this, and the sickly members of 
the crew had recovered, he left, and on Easter Eve, 
14 April, reached Malindi. With its whitewashed 
houses lining the shores of a bay, the town reminded 
the author of the Roteiro of home it was like Alcochete 
on the Tagus, near Lisbon and the Portuguese were 
welcomed as they had not been since they met Moham- 
medans. Fear of their artillery probably accounted for 
this in part; the authorities must have heard of the 
damage it had done farther south. Moreover, the Sultan 
perhaps hoped, by alliance with a distant king, to 

258 



THE FIRST VOYAGE OF VASCO DA GAMA 

exempt himself from the supremacy which Kilwa en- 
joyed over the other coast towns. 

On the way from Mombasa some Moors had been 
taken off a boat, and da Gama despatched one of them 
to the Sultan to announce his desire for friendly relations 
and pilots for India; a favourable answer came, presents 
were exchanged and he moved nearer the town and 
anchored. The Sultan thereupon sent him six sheep and 
a quantity of valuable spices, and suggested an inter- 
view, which took place on the 1 8th; he was rowed to the 
flagship dressed in a damask robe trimmed with green 
satin, wearing a rich turban, and seated on cushioned 
chairs of bronze under a crimson umbrella, and musi- 
cians accompanied him sounding ivory trumpets. Da 
Gama entered his pinnace and talked with him through 
an interpreter, but did not accept an invitation to visit 
the palace, saying that his master would not allow him 
to land until he reached India; he had learnt caution 
by his experiences at Mozambique and Mombasa. 
However, he released the prisoners he had taken en 
route, which greatly pleased the Sultan, who, on the 
termination of his three hours' visit, made the circuit 
of the vessels amid salvoes from the bombards, and the 
next day da Gama had himself rowed along the front 
of the town and witnessed a sham fight arranged in his 
honour, but again refused to go on shore. Four vessels, 
said to belong to Indian Christians, were in port, and 
when some of their crew came on board the St. Gabriel, 
they prostrated themselves and prayed before a picture 
of Our Lady at the foot of the cross holding the dead 
Christ in her arms. They probably thought it represented 
one of their gods, but the Portuguese saw in the action 
proof of a common faith, and rejoiced accordingly. 
They were naturally confirmed in this belief when 

259 



THE PORTUGUESE PIONEERS 

another day, on seeing da Gama pass, the same sup- 
posed Christians uttered cries of 'Christ! Christ!' 
probably 'Krishna', the second person of their Trinity. 
The nine days' stay was rendered agreeable by fStes, 
sham fights and musical entertainments, but the 
promised pilot did not appear; however, by detaining 
a confidential servant of the Sultan, a Guzerati pilot, 
the well-known Ibn Majid, also mistaken for a Christian, 
was obtained, and on the 24th the fleet sailed for Calicut. 
After running up the African coast for some days, it 
steered over the Indian Ocean, and twenty-three days 
later the Ghats came in view on 1 8 May. The Roteiro 
says nothing of the emotion which must have overtaken 
the navigators at the first sight of Asia, but Camoens, 
who came the same way half a century later and used 
his own experiences in relating the voyage of da Gama, 
lays stress on their relief and on the Captain's gratitude 
to the Almighty : 

Gama can bear no more ; all over-wrought 
With joj to find the land now known and near, 
With knees upon the deck and hands to heaven, 
For this, God's mercy great, his thanks are given. 

On 20 May the fleet dropped anchor off Calicut and 
the great enterprise was accomplished; the Portuguese 
had reached the land of wealth abounding. 

They arrived in India at an opportune moment. 
The Mogul power was still confined to the north, and 
they found the south-western coast-line divided among 
several small states, whose Hindu rulers were at issue 
with one another, and had no objection to sell their pro- 
ducts to strangers. Among these states was Calicut, the 
most important trading centre, ruled by the Samuri, 
who lived in a palace outside the city with his courtiers, 
composed of priestly Brahmins and Nairs, members 

260 



THE FIRST VOYAGE OF VASCO DA GAMA 

of the military caste. The export trade was entirely in 
the hands of Moslem merchants, belonging to two 
classes, convert natives and their descendants and 
recent arrivals, chiefly Arabs and Persians, for whom 
the coming of the Christians represented a serious 
menace. Difference of religion and self-interest, two 
powerful causes of enmity, led them to oppose the 
Portuguese from the beginning, and the challenge had 
to be accepted by the latter, unless they were to re- 
nounce the plans of many years and the dreams of future 
wealth. There could be no compromise between rival 
creeds and traders ; one must win the contest and oust 
the other. 

In reply to da Gama's message announcing his 
embassy, the Samuri sent words of welcome and started 
for Calicut, At the same time his pilots guided the ships 
to an anchorage off Pandarani, some miles to the north, 
on account of its greater safety, and here the Portuguese 
remained for nearly three months. 

On hearing that the Samuri had reached his capital, 
da Gama went on shore to present the letter he brought 
from the King of Portugal, taking with him thirteen 
men, and leaving his brother and Nicolas Coelho in 
charge of the ships with orders to sail for home if he 
did not return. On arrival at Calicut they were taken 
into a 'church' and in the sanctuary saw a statue which 
they were told represented Our Lady, and accordingly 
they knelt and prayed; the edifice was really a temple, 
the image perhaps that of Devaki, mother of Krishna. 
The priests sprinkled the Captain-major with holy 
water and gave him white earth, which he passed on 
to somebody else, promising to use it later. He may 
have discerned that it was composed in part of dust and 
cow-dung, and he must have had doubts about the 

261 



THE PORTUGUESE PIONEERS 

church, on seeing the figures painted on the walls, for 
though the author of the Roteiro ingenuously calls them 
saints, he says they had teeth protruding an inch from 
their mouths and four or five arms. Nevertheless, from 
King Manoel's letter to the king of Spain, written after 
the return of the expedition, it is clear that the Portu- 
guese were even then persuaded that the Hindus of 
Calicut, although not possessing a full knowledge of 
the Faith, were Christians. 

Da Gama made a triumphal progress through the 
town, attended by a magnate and men beating drums, 
blowing trumpets, playing bagpipes and firing off 
matchlocks; an enormous crowd had gathered in the 
streets, and so pressed upon the Portuguese that they 
had to fight their way into the palace. When ushered 
into the presence of the Samuri, they found him re- 
clining on a couch under a gilt canopy, holding a gold 
spittoon in his left hand, while a servant supplied him 
with betel to chew from a large gold basin. After fruit 
had been served to the visitors, the Samuri gave da 
Gama private audience that he might state the purpose 
of his embassy, and the Captain-major dilated on the 
power and wealth of King Manoel, and the efforts made 
by his ancestors to discover India, not for the sake of 
gold and silver, but because they knew that Christian 
rulers existed there. He declared that his sovereign had 
ordered him not to return until he should have dis- 
covered this Christian ruler on pain of losing his head, 
and that he desired the friendship of the Samuri. At the 
close of the interview the latter, at da Gama's request, 
promised to send ambassadors to Portugal. The next 
day the Captain-major got ready his presents, con- 
sisting of striped cloth, scarlet hoods, hats, strings of 
coral, a case of wash-hand basins, sugar, oil and honey. 

262 



THE FIRST VOYAGE OF VASCO DA GAMA 

According to the Roteiro, the Samuri's factor laughed 
at these gifts, declaring that they were not fit for a king, 
and advised him to offer gold; da Gama replied that 
he had brought none, for he was not a merchant, and 
the articles were his own gift and not the King's. He 
was angry at not being allowed to forward them, and 
asked to see the Samuri, and after much delay he had 
another audience. The Samuri remarked that though 
da Gama had told him he came from a very rich king- 
dom, he had brought nothing, and asked if he came 
to find stones or men, whereupon the Captain-major 
excused himself by saying that the object of his voyage 
was merely to make discoveries. The Samuri then 
begged for the golden statue of Our Lady which he had 
heard da Gama carried; the latter said it was not of gold, 
and even if it were, he would not part with it, for Mary 
had guided him across the ocean and would guide 
him home. He then handed over the letter from King 
Manoel, and, despite his disappointment, the Samuri 
gave leave for the landing and sale of the merchandise 
he had brought. 

Da Gama and his companions then started back to 
Pandarani, where the ships were moored, but, night 
coming on, they had to stay in a rest-house, where they 
were detained for two days. When they asked for boats 
to take them off to their ships, they were told they could 
have them if they ordered the vessels to come nearer the 
shore, otherwise they would not be allowed to embark; 
and they were next requested to give up the sails and 
rudders. The Captain-major put on a bold face, refused 
all these demands, and wished to appeal to the Samuri; 
at the same time he secretly sent word to Nicolas Coelho 
to move the ships to a safe place. He would not allow 
them to come into port, for he feared that they would 

263 



THE PORTUGUESE PIONEERS 

then be seized. His courage and the resistance offered by 
the Samuri to the hostile suggestions of the Moslem 
merchants saved him, and when the merchandise had 
been landed he was released, but the goods found no 
purchasers, for the Moslems depreciated them and 
when they met the Europeans on shore, they spat on 
the ground, crying, 'Portugal! Portugal!' On receiving 
the Captain's complaint of this behaviour, the Samuri 
had the merchandise transported to Calicut at his own 
cost and it was ultimately sold at a loss for the sake of 
obtaining samples of Indian products. 

The Hindu populace shewed friendliness to the 
sailors who landed, and, in return for their kindness and 
to establish good relations, da Gama welcomed and fed 
numbers of them who came on board to see the ships, 

He endeavoured to make a treaty with the Samuri, 
but failed because the latter's advisers had been bribed 
by the Moslem merchants who declared that the Portu- 
guese were pirates, so that he decided in August to 
leave for home; first, however, he sent to inform the 
Samuri, and asked for a consignment of spices for his 
master. In reply came a demand for the payment of 
^223 for customs dues; a guard was put over the mer- 
chandise remaining and the Portuguese in charge of it, 
and a proclamation prohibited boats from approaching 
the ships. The object was perhaps only to enforce pay- 
ment of the dues, but da Gama attributed it to the enmity 
of the Moslem merchants, who had told the Samuri that 
if the Portuguese were allowed to trade at Calicut, other 
vessels would stay away and the country would be 
ruined; they also said that the strangers had nothing to 
give and only wanted to take. The Captain-major learnt 
from Mon9aide, a Moor of Tunis, that there was a plot 
to kill him, and by imprisoning some persons of quality 

264 



THE FIRST VOYAGE OF VASCO DA GAMA 

who had come on board, he was able to recover the men 
held in custody and part of the merchandise. At the 
last moment the Samuri sent a letter addressed to King 
Manoel asking for gold, silver, coral and scarlet cloth, 
in exchange for spices and precious stones, and gave 
orders for a pillar da Gama had brought to be set up. At 
the end of August the fleet set out on its homeward 
voyage ; it carried Mon?aide, whose life was threatened 
on account of the help he had rendered to the Portu- 
guese, and five or six Indians, so that King Manoel 
might see them and obtain information about the country. 
On the way along the coast da Gama erected another 
pillar and careened his vessels at the Anjediva islands 
and took on board a Jew, known afterwards as Caspar 
da India or da Gama. Owing to calms and contrary 
winds, the crossing of the Arabian Sea occupied almost 
three months, thirty of the crew died of scurvy, and only 
seven or eight men in each ship were fit for duty. Under 
these conditions discipline grew slack, and da Gama 
thought he would have to return to India, but at last he 
caught a favouring wind, which brought him in sight of 
the African coast near Mogadishu on 3 January 1499, 
and four days afterwards he reached the friendly port of 
Malindi. Here he erected another pillar, though it is not 
the one now existing there. Finding farther on that he 
had not enough men to navigate the three vessels, he 
set fire to the St. Rafhael and distributed the crew 
among the others, saving the figure-head, which may 
be seen in the Jeronimos Church, 1 and on i February 
he reached Mozambique and set up the last pillar on 
the island of St. George. On 20 March the St. Gabriel 

1 The statue of the Archangel was highly prized by da Gama and his 
descendants; it made three voyages to India with him, and the Marquis de 
Niza took it on his two embassies to France in 1642 and 1647. 

265 



THE PORTUGUESE PIONEERS 

and Berrio rounded the Cape together, but a month 
later a storm parted them; Coelho held on his way, and 
entered the Tagus on 10 July, two years and two days 
after he had started, while the Captain-major pro- 
ceeded to the island of St. Thiago. He is then said to 
have despatched the flagship to Lisbon, while he took 
his sick brother to Terceira in a hired caravel; 1 there 
Paul died, and Vasco reached Lisbon on 9 September 
and made his triumphal entry into the city nine days 
later, spending the interval in mourning for his loss. 

His diplomatic mission had been a failure owing to 
Moslem intrigue, but he had found India, and brought 
back samples of its products cinnamon, cloves, ginger, 
nutmeg, pepper and precious stones. What he had ac- 
complished could be repeated, for the first step is always 
the most difficult, and fabulous wealth lay open to 
Portugal if only she had the courage to seize it. His 
voyage out was the finest feat of seamanship recorded 
up to that time, and greater than that of Columbus, for 
not only had the latter a much shorter distance to travel, 
but, favoured by the wind, he could proceed almost 
straight from the Canaries to his goal. 

In scientific knowledge also da Gama proved himself 
the superior, the accuracy of his charts being in marked 
contrast to the errors made by the Genoese, whose lati- 
tudes are sometimes ten degrees wrong, and few will deny 

1 The Roteiro ends its narrative abruptly on 25 April because, according 
to Dr. Franz Hiimmerich, the author disembarked at Sierra Leone, and did 
not return to Lisbon for some years (Studten xum Roteiro der Entdeckungsfahrt 
fiascos da Gama in Revista da Unvversidade de Coimbra, vol. x, 1923). 
Admiral Moraes e Sousa considers it impossible that da Gama should have 
committed such a breach of duty and discipline as to have stayed behind, 
instead of hastening to Lisbon to report the result of the voyage (A Sciencia 
Nautica dos filotos Portugueses nos seculos XV e XVI). He must, however, be 
read with caution because he accepts the statements of Caspar Correa, who 
can only be trusted after he arrived in India and wrote of what he saw. 

266 



THE FIRST VOYAGE OF VASCO DA GAMA 

that he was cast in the heroic mould when they consider 
the achievement by which he realised the dream of 
Prince Henry the Navigator by uniting East and West, 
To us the discovery of America exceeds all others in 
importance, but in the late fifteenth and early sixteenth 
centuries the general ambition was to reach the spice 
countries, and hence, while the results of the voyages 
of Columbus caused disappointment, the news of the 
arrival of the Portuguese at Calicut stirred the minds 
of men in every country and filled them with wonder, 
envy or alarm. 

At that time the religion of the Arabian prophet was 
approaching its political zenith, its adherents threatened 
Europe with conquest and cut it off from contact with 
the East; they levied toll on it, because they controlled 
the routes by which drugs and spices came from India 
to the West. These highly esteemed products were 
carried by Moslem vessels to the heads of the Persian 
Gulf and Red Sea, then transported by camels across 
the lands of the sultans of Turkey and Egypt to Tripolis 
and Alexandria, and they found their way to Italy in 
Venetian and Genoese galleys and thence reached 
Bruges or Antwerp by sea, or the cities of South 
Germany by road, across the Alps. 

Spices were used to preserve and season food in the 
houses of the great, for in those days men did not 
appreciate the natural taste of fish, meat and poultry, 
but liked them highly flavoured; they also served to 
hide decay and promote digestion, and the cost of these 
articles at the end of their journey was in proportion to 
its length and the many lands through which they had 
passed. The wealth which this trade brought to the 
sultans and to Venice excited the envy of other nations, 
and the desire to share in it was one of the reasons that 

267 



THE PORTUGUESE PIONEERS 

determined the Portuguese voyages, culminating in 
that of da Gama. 

The opening of the Cape route had important results ; 
it weakened Islam by establishing a hostile power on its 
flank and by depriving the sultans of Turkey and Egypt 
of a considerable part of the revenues they had derived 
from the transit across their territories of Eastern goods ; 
it also led to the acquisition by Portugal of a dominion 
founded on the command of the Indian Ocean and, so 
far as Europe was concerned, to a practical monopoly 
of the spice trade. 

King Manoel had adopted a sphere for his device 
and now somewhat prematurely added a new title to 
his crown, styling himself 'Lord of the conquest, naviga- 
tion and commerce of Ethiopia, Arabia, Persia and 
India', the explanation of which occupies a very in- 
teresting chapter in Barros. The Portuguese founded 
their claims on discovery and Papal concessions, be- 
stowed on account of the blood and treasure they had 
expended, and in the following century their case was 
ably presented and defended by the eminent jurist Frei 
Serafim de Freitas in his De Justo Imperio Lusitanorum, 
a reply to Grotius. If the title adopted by D. Manoel 
is magniloquent, like that of Barros' history, 1 it sounds 
modest when compared with those of some Oriental 
potentates, and under Albuquerque the King did actu- 
ally dominate the navigation and maritime trade of the 
countries named, although on land his rule never ex- 
tended beyond the coast. In memory of past glories, 
succeeding kings of Portugal maintained the title long 
after it had ceased to have any foundation. In the same 
way British sovereigns continued to call themselves 

1 Of Asia and the Achievements of the Portuguese in the Discovery and 
Conquest of the Seas and Lands of the Orient. 

268 



THE FIRST VOYAGE OF VASCO DA GAMA 

Kings of France after losing every inch of French 
territory, and Defenders of the Faith, a title conferred 
by Papal grant, when they had ceased to be Catholics 
and sought to destroy the same faith by severe penal 
laws and bloody persecutions. 

In thanksgiving to God, King Manoel built the 
church and monastery of the Jeronimos and liberally 
rewarded the man who was the first to take a ship from 
Europe to India. He granted him the title of Dom, an 
annual pension of 1000 cruzados and the town of Sines, 
his birthplace; but the Order of Santiago, to which it 
belonged, refused to part with it, and he had finally to 
content himself with Vidigueira, from which he took 
the title of Count, granted him in 1519. Shortly before 
his second voyage the King conferred further favours 
on him, including another pension, the title of Admiral 
of the Indian Seas, and the right to import merchandise 
from the East to the value of 200 cruzados, so that he 
became one of the richest men in Portugal. The rewards 
were not, as often happens, out of proportion to the 
services rendered, and they may fairly be set against 
the instances of King Manoel's alleged neglect of men 
of equal merit. 



CHAPTER XIII 

NORTH AMERICA, BRAZIL AND THE ORIENT 

i in 1492 John Fernandas, a native of the 

^Azores, called Labrador from his occupation as a 



farmer, and Pedro de Barcellos, went on a voyage of 
exploration to the North. But as they were away three 
years, it is probable that they made more than one 
expedition. We do not know the lands they visited, but 
Greenland was one of them, as appears from the 
Kretchmer map of 1502. Five years later, encouraged 
by the discoveries of Columbus, the Venetian John 
Cabot sailed from Bristol in search of the spice countries, 
reached North America at Cape Breton Island, and 
then sailing northward ran up the coast of Newfound- 
land. On his return he reported that he had found the 
country of the Grand Khan, and announced that on 
the next voyage he hoped to reach Cipango, from which 
came all the spices and precious stones. He received 
a pension from King Henry VII and a promise to equip 
a fleet in the following year, but before setting out on 
a second expedition he went to Lisbon to obtain ex- 
perienced seamen. 1 He met John Fernandes and heard 
of his voyage to Greenland, whereupon he seems to 
have conceived the idea of proceeding there and coast- 
ing along it to Asia, instead of crossing the ocean, as 

1 This is the view of Dr. H. P. Biggar, but Dr. J. A. Williamson, in The 
Voyages of the Cabots (London, 1929), furnishes reasons for disbelieving in 
Cabot's journey to Lisbon at this time, wide p. 199. 

270 



NORTH AMERICA, BRAZIL AND THE ORIENT 

he had done on the previous occasion. He persuaded 
Fernandes to accompany him and the expedition left 
England in May 1498, On reaching the east coast of 
Greenland near Cape Farewell, Cabot gave it the name 
of Labrador, because he had been first told of it by 
John Fernandes. After making his way some distance 
to the north, a mutiny of his crew compelled him to 
turn back and he steered across to the country we now 
know as Labrador and went down the coast visited in 
the previous year, but found neither cities nor spices, 
and lack of provisions compelled him to return. 

His reception by the King and those who had 
furnished money for the expedition must have been a 
cool one, and we hear of no other expedition to those 
parts until 1501, and then it was not English but 
Portuguese. In the meanwhile Fernandes returned to 
Portugal, 1 probably at the end of 1498, to tell of his 
experiences. Although no traces of the land of spices 
had been found, it seemed worth while to make another 
attempt, and on 28 October 1499 he obtained a grant 
from King Manoel of any islands he might discover 
within the Portuguese sphere, or, in other words, leave 
to explore to the north-west. He seems to have made no 
use of it, but Caspar Corte Real, member of a noble 
family at Terceira, where Fernandes lived, and a man 
with experience of navigation, applied for and obtained 
a similar grant on 1 2 May 1 500. It is possible, as Dr. 
Williamson thinks, either that he had heard of Cabot's 
claim to have reached Asia and hoped to find a shorter 
route to the spice countries than that discovered by da 
Gama, or that he had the idea that the lands visited by 
Cabot were in the Portuguese sphere. In any case he 
started from Lisbon in the following summer with two 

1 It is not certain, however, that Fernandes accompanied Cabot. 
271 



THE PORTUGUESE PIONEERS 

caravels, and after touching at Terceira, took a northerly 
course to the east coast of Greenland, which he coasted 
until the end of June, when icebergs compelled him to 
turn back. Rounding Cape Farewell he ran up the west 
coast, and on each of the two coasts named a number 
of points which are recorded in the atlas of Vaz Dourado 
and elsewhere. He then came into contact with the 
Esquimaux who were, according to Goes, 'very bar- 
barous and wild, almost like the natives of Brazil, 
except that they are white, but with the cold they lose 
their whiteness when they are old and become brown 
men. They are of middle height and very active and 
great archers, they use bits of wood burnt in the fire 
in place of assegais and when they throw them, these 
cause the same wounds as if they were pointed with 
fine steel. They dress in skins of animals, of which the 
land has many, and live in caves in the rocks and huts; 
they have no religion, but are great believers in signs 
and omens. They keep the law of marriage and are very 
jealous of their wives, like the Laps, who also live in the 
North between the yoth and y^th degrees of latitude, 
subject to the Kings of Norway and Sweden, to whom 
they pay tribute.' 1 Dr, Biggar thinks that the mariners 
reached Sukkertoppen, which is named on several maps 
the Bay of the Landmarks, or even a little farther north, 
and that they were again driven back by icebergs. They 
then sailed straight for Portugal, reaching Lisbon 
safely before the end of the year. Goes tells us that 
Corte Real called the land Greenland, on account of 
its trees, which hardly seems a suitable name; at any 
rate he resolved to return and explore it further. 

In 1501, in conjunction with his brother Miguel, he 
prepared another expedition, and on 1 5 May they left 

1 Cronica de D. Manuel, part i, cap. 66. 
272 



NORTH AMERICA, BRAZIL AND THE ORIENT 

Lisbon and steered for Greenland. According to a 
letter of the cartographer Alberto Cantino, written in 
the same city on 17 October after their return, they 
saw no land for four months, but this is clearly a mis- 
take for weeks. On the fifth they met some very large 
icebergs and, being in need of water, they went along- 
side and took in a supply* After holding on their course 
for another day or two, they found the sea covered with 
an ice-pack and had to give up the idea of reaching their 
destination. They then took a north-westerly course 
over Davis Strait and finally came in sight of a land 
which proved to be of great extent with large rivers, 
so that it could not be an island. It was in fact our 
Labrador, and they gave the name of Boundary Cape 
to the hill now called Table Hill. There they turned 
south and ran down the coast, naming the islands 
they passed, to Cape Harrison, which they called Cabo 
Formoso. 

Farther on they entered and explored Hamilton 
Inlet, which received the name of Bahia das Gamas, on 
account of the reindeer there, while another bay was 
called after the white bears on its shores ; it is now known 
as Sandwich Bay. They took Hawke Bay for a river, and 
at the mouth of the Alexis River set up a stone pillar, 
and farther on an inlet was called St. Francis harbour. 
When they landed, they found pine-trees of great height 
and girth, delicious fruits of various kinds and abund- 
ance of fish. The country was well peopled, and accord- 
ing to Cantino, they captured sixty men and one woman, 
whom they took home, while the Venetian diplomat 
Pietro Pasqualigo, who described the expedition in two 
letters of 17 and 18 October, 1 says that seven men, 

1 Cantino's and Pasqualigo's letters are translated in C. R. Markham, 
Journal of Columbus, p. 232. 

273 18 



THE PORTUGUESE PIONEERS 

women and children had already arrived and that fifty 
others were expected daily. The natives had no corn but 
lived on fish and the produce of the chase, for the land 
abounded in animals; stags, wolves, foxes and even 
tigers are mentioned, while falcons were very common. 
Pursuing their way south, they next crossed the Strait 
of Belle Isle and called the island of the same name Frei 
Luis, who perhaps, as Dr. Biggar 1 suggests, was their 
chaplain. They were now off the coast of Newfound- 
land and some of the names they gave have survived, 
e.g. Cape Bonavista (Boa Vista) and Conception Bay, 
and here or at Placentia Bay the three vessels separated 
in September, after they had explored some 600 miles 
of coast. Caspar probably went southwards to ascertain 
if, as he believed, the land joined up with the Antilles 
found by Columbus and with the Land of Parrots, or 
Brazil, at which Cabral had touched on his way to the 
East in 1 500, while the other two ships with the Indians 
on board sailed direct for Lisbon where they arrived in 
October. 

King Manoel was well pleased with the results of the 
voyage, because, as the new country was not far from 
Portugal, its supply of timber would serve for ships' 
masts and the natives could be used as slaves, and he 
planned to send another expedition to the same parts. 
The Indians made a great impression on the Portuguese 
and on Cantino and Pasqualigo, who had seen no men 
like them. Cantino describes them as rather taller than 
Europeans, with limbs proportioned to their height and 

1 His learned study, previously cited and founded largely on early maps, 
has been followed here as revised in his later works, Precursors of Jacques 
Carrier, and in cap. vi of The Great Age of Discovery (London, 1932). Dr. 
Williamson observes, however, that as many of these maps are some years 
later in date than the Corte Real voyages, they may not represent only their 
discoveries, since, in the interval, other voyages took place. 

274 



NORTH AMERICA, BRAZIL AND THE ORIENT 

well formed. The hair of the males was long and worn 
in ringlets, their faces were marked with lines and their 
eyes almost green. Though fierce of aspect they were 
gentle in behaviour, laughed much and shewed great 
pleasure, but no one could understand what they said. 
A woman was fairer than the men and had a beautiful 
body and gentle countenance. Pasqualigo agrees in 
general with Cantino's account of the natives, but 
compares them to gipsies and says their habits were 
filthy. Their dress was of skins of various animals, 
but chiefly of otters, the fur being worn inside in 
winter and outside in summer; and they had no 
arms or iron, but in what they fashioned they used 
sharp stones, which cut through the hardest substance. 
The expedition brought back a piece of a broken 
sword, apparently made in Italy, and a native boy had 
two silver rings in his ears which seemed to be of 
Venetian make; they were probably relics of Cabot's 
voyage of 1498. 

When the months passed and Caspar Corte Real did 
not appear, it began to be feared that he had met with 
disaster, and his brother Miguel resolved to go out and 
look for him; and by letters patent of 15 January 1502 
the King granted him any new terra firma and islands he 
discovered, in case he failed to find Caspar, or if the 
latter had died. On 10 May Miguel started from Lisbon 
with three ships and probably reached Newfoundland 
in June, for he gave to our St. John the name of St. 
John's river, and the feast of that saint is the 24th of the 
month. There the vessels parted, each going in different 
directions in search of Caspar, and they agreed to meet 
again on 20 August, perhaps at St. John's Bay. One 
vessel went north to Conception Bay and another in the 
opposite direction, which explored the southern and 

275 



THE PORTUGUESE PIONEERS 

western coast of Newfoundland as far as Cow Head, 
giving names to capes, bays and rivers which are found 
on old maps. On 20 August these two vessels met at the 
place appointed without having found Caspar, but 
Miguel with the third vessel never returned, and, 
after waiting for him for some time, they returned to 
Portugal. 

The King was much affected by the loss of the two 
brothers, owing to their qualities and because they had 
been brought up by him, and in 1503 he sent out two 
ships equipped at his own expense in search of them. 
An elder brother, Vasqueanes, 1 could not believe that 
his brothers were dead and determined to go and seek 
them on his own account, but the King would not allow 
him to do so, deeming it unnecessary. As a matter of 
fact the two ships he himself had sent out returned in 
the autumn without having found either Caspar or 
Miguel, whose loss in those Far Northern climes would 
probably give matter for another chapter in the His- 
toria Tragico-Maritima, the prose epic of shipwreck. 
They left their names on old maps of the region of 
Labrador, which was called for a long time Land of the 
Corte Reais, while the name Labrador seems to have 
originally denoted Greenland. How it came to be trans- 
ferred from Greenland to the North American coast is 
explained by Dr. Biggar. 

Canerio's map registers the results of the voyage of 
Caspar Corte Real to Newfoundland, and it appears 
from the Portuguese flag at the southern end to be con- 
sidered as part of the discoveries of that voyage. In the 
Cantino chart it is said to have been found by order 

1 He is described by Goes as a very good knight, a good Christian and a 
man of exemplary lifej he was Overseer of the palace, member of the Royal 
Council, Governor of the islands of St. George and Terceira and Alcaide- 
m6r of Tavira. The plural of Corte Real is Corte Reais. 

276 



NORTH AMERICA, BRAZIL AND THE ORIENT 

of the King of Portugal, and in some later maps the 
name Labrador is assigned to it. 

On the return of da Gama from India, King Manoel 
took immediate steps to profit by his discovery, and 
on 9 March 1500 Pedro Alvares Cabral left Lisbon 
with a large fleet of thirteen ships carrying the most 
experienced pilots and mariners of the day, Bartholo- 
mew Dias, Duarte Pacheco, Nicolas Coelho and others, 
and provided with everything needed for an absence 
of eighteen months. Though the first part of his in- 
structions are missing, there is good reason to believe 
that he was charged to touch at the Brazilian coast, 
which thenceforth entered into the route of vessels 
proceeding to India, and officially discover it. We do 
not know when Brazil was first found and by whom, 
but Robert Thorne dates its discovery before 1494, 
which would explain the insistence of John II on having 
the dividing line moved farther to the west; and in 1498 
King Manoel secretly despatched Duarte Pacheco in the 
same direction. 1 Owing to Spanish rivalry it would have 
been imprudent to take formal possession of Brazil 
until India, a far more important 'conquest', had been 
reached, and the last step in the route to the East could 
not have been safely made previous to the settlement 
effected by the treaty of Tordesillas. 

On Saturday the I4th, between nine and ten o'clock, 
Cabral's ships found themselves among the Canaries 
and were all that day becalmed in sight of them, about 
three or four leagues away. On Sunday the 22nd, about 
ten o'clock, they caught sight of the Cape Verde 
islands, that is of St. Nicholas, according to the pilot 
Pero Escolar. During the following night Vasco 

1 Esmeraldo, bk. i, cap. 2. 

277 



THE PORTUGUESE PIONEERS 

d'Ataide with his ship became separated from the 
others, 'without heavy or adverse weather to account 
for it'. Cabral endeavoured to find him in one direction 
and another, but he never appeared again, so they 
followed their course until Tuesday in the octave of 
Easter, 21 April, when they encountered some signs 
of land, being then, as the pilot said, about 660 leagues 
distant from the island. There were a number of long 
grasses which sailors call botelho and others known to 
them as donkey's tail. On the following Wednesday 
morning they met with birds called fura-buchos, and 
in the evening land actually came in sight. It was a very 
lofty circular mountain with a range of lower ones to 
the south of it and a flat shore with tall trees. Cabral 
named the first Easter mountain,, while to the land he 
gave the name of True Cross. 1 When the lead was 
heaved, they found twenty-five fathoms, and at sunset 
they anchored about six leagues from the shore in 
nineteen with a clean bottom. There they lay all that 
night and on Thursday morning made sail towards the 
land, the small ships going in front in depths diminish- 
ing from seventeen down to nine fathoms, until they 
came to half a league from the shore, where they all 
anchored in front of the mouth of a river at about ten 
o'clock. They then saw seven or eight men going along 
the beach. They put out their boats and the captains 
repaired to the flagship to consult with Cabral, who sent 
off Nicholas Coelho in a boat to examine the river. As 
soon as he started, the natives in twos and threes 
appeared on the beach, so that when he arrived there 
were eighteen or twenty of them, brown men, all naked, 
who carried bows and arrows in their hands and ad- 
vanced boldly towards the boat. But when Coelho signed 

i Vera Cruz. 
278 



NORTH AMERICA, BRAZIL AND THE ORIENT 

to them to put down their bows, they did so. It was 
impossible to delay and have speech with them, because 
the sea was breaking on the shore, but he presented 
them with three caps and one of them gave him a head- 
dress of long feathers surmounted by red and brown 
feathers, like those of a parrot, while another gave him 
a collection of little white beads and with these he 
returned to the fleet. 

On the following night a strong south-west wind got 
up with heavy showers, and about eight o'clock on 
Friday morning Cabral, by the advice of his pilots, 
ordered anchors to be raised and sail to be made. They 
ran up the coast northwards to see if they could find 
some harbour where they could lie and take in water. 
The small ships were instructed to keep close to the 
land, and if they found a safe port for the others, they 
were to strike sail. About ten leagues on they came 
upon a reef, behind which was a good harbour with a 
wide entrance, and they went in. A little before sunset 
the larger vessels struck sail about a league from the 
reef and anchored in eleven fathoms. By the captain's 
order Afonso Lopes, one of the pilots, went off in a 
skiff to sound the harbour and captured two young 
natives who were in a canoe and brought them to 
Cabral, who received them with joy. The colour of 
these two natives was a red brown, they had good faces 
and noses and were well made and quite naked. They 
both had their lower lips bored and inserted in them 
were long white bones, thick and sharpened at the 
point. These bones were so well fitted in that they did 
not interfere with speaking, eating or drinking; their 
hair was wavy, but partly shorn. When they arrived, 
they found Cabral seated in a chair with a carpet to his 
feet and richly dressed with a large golden chain round 

279 



THE PORTUGUESE PIONEERS 

his neck, and the officers and others sat on the carpet. 
Torches were lighted and the natives entered, but made 
no sign of courtesy, nor of speaking to the captain, nor 
to anyone, but one of them cast his eyes on the chain 
and pointed with his hand to the land and afterwards 
to the chain, as though to say the former contained gold. 
When he saw a silver candlestick, he acted in the like 
manner. The natives were shewn a sheep and a hen and 
took no notice of the first, and were almost afraid of the 
second and did not want to touch it. Afterwards they 
were given bread and cooked fish, comfits, honey and 
fruits, but would eat hardly any of these things, and 
what they tasted they at once threw out. They did not 
like the taste of wine and even the water which was 
offered them they did not swallow, but only washed 
their mouths with it. After this they stretched them- 
selves on their backs on the carpet to sleep, naked as 
they were, but the Portuguese covered them with a rug, 
to which they offered no objection, and so they slept. 
On Saturday morning the fleet entered the bay and 
found an anchorage so large and safe that it could con- 
tain more than 200 ships. Cabral sent Nicholas Coelho 
and Bartholomew Dias on shore with the two natives, 
to whom he had given new shirts, red caps, rosaries of 
white beads and some bells. He also sent Afonso 
Ribeiro, a convict, so that he could go among them 
and learn their manner of life. On landing, the two 
natives took Ribeiro to a clump of palm-trees, but they 
soon returned, followed by a number of others; and 
entering into the water as far as they could, took the 
barrels which the Portuguese had in their boats and 
filled them with water and then asked for some presents. 
It was impossible to communicate with them by speech 
because their language was unintelligible, but signs 

280 



NORTH AMERICA, BRAZIL AND THE ORIENT 

served the purpose. They would not keep Ribeiro with 
them, but returned him with the presents he had taken 
to offer to his host. The latter was an old man and very 
smart, having his body covered with feathers, so that 
he looked as if he had been pierced by arrows like St. 
Sebastian. The afternoon was spent in fishing from the 
boats, but no one went on shore, except Cabral himself 
with his captains. 

On the Sunday after Easter the former determined 
to land on the island and hear Mass and had an altar 
erected, at which Frei Henry said Mass, assisted by the 
other priests from the fleet, and all heard it with great 
devotion. The banner of Christ, which had been brought 
from Lisbon, was unfurled and flown on the Gospel 
side of the altar, and afterwards a sermon was preached. 
Many natives watched the ceremony, and as the sermon 
began, some of them sounded their horns and danced, 
and when the Portuguese got into their boats to go to 
the ships, as many as could crowded round that of 
Bartholomew Dias, shewing that they had already lost 
all fear of the new-comers. Cabral then held a council 
of his captains at which it was decided to send news to 
King Manoel of the discovery by the store-ship, so that 
he could despatch another expedition to learn more of 
the land. It was also settled to leave on shore two more 
convicts, but not to carry off any natives, the reason 
being that the convicts would be able to give better in- 
formation of the country and that it was desirable not 
to offend the people. 

On the Portuguese landing again, the natives became 
so friendly that the two intermingled and the Indians 
exchanged their bows and arrows for caps, or anything 
else that was given them. The men were painted black 
and red on the bodies and legs and looked very well, 

281 



THE PORTUGUESE PIONEERS 

and among them were four or five young women also 
painted and as naked as they, shewing their innocence. 
An old man had his lip bored so deeply that a thumb 
could be put in the opening, and there he had inserted 
a green stone which Cabral made him take out. The 
old man wanted to put it into the captain's mouth, 
which caused some laughter, and the stone was pur- 
chased from him as a curiosity for a hat. On this 
occasion, Diogo Dias, a merry fellow, took with him a 
piper with his pipes and began to dance with the 
natives, which delighted them and they accompanied 
him very well to the sound of the music, but presently 
took fright and went off in a body like a flock of birds. 
Yet, however savage they might be, they were very clean 
and their bodies were well nourished and handsome. 

Another day they shewed that they had lost their 
shyness altogether, for they mixed with, embraced and 
sported with the Portuguese, so that twenty of the 
latter went with them to where they kept their women 
and children and brought back many bows and hats 
of feathers,, green and yellow. On this occasion it was 
possible to observe them better; all were painted and 
had their lips bored. They used a red berry from a tree 
to colour their skins, crushing it between their fingers, 
and the more they wetted themselves, the redder they 
became; they were all shaved as far as above the ears 
and also their eyebrows and eyelashes, and their fore- 
heads were covered with black paint. Ribeiro and the 
other two convicts were again sent among them and 
went to a village of nine or ten houses, built of wood 
and as long as the flagship, covered with straw but 
without divisions. Inside were many nets or hammocks 
in which the owners slept, and beneath these they 
lighted fires to warm themselves* Each house had two 

282 



NORTH AMERICA, BRAZIL AND THE ORIENT 

doors and contained thirty or forty persons. The convicts 
were given native food, that is inhame l and other seeds 
of the country, but were not allowed to stay. 

The next day the Portuguese sailors went on shore 
to wash their linen and get wood, in which task they 
were helped by the natives. Two carpenters made a 
great cross which aroused much interest because of the 
iron tools they used, for iron did not exist in the country 
and wood was cut with wedge-shaped stones inserted 
in a hast. Cabral again sent the convicts to the village 
with instructions not to return to the ships, even if 
ordered to do so. But the next day, Wednesday, the 
men came back carrying green parrots 2 and other black 
birds like jackdaws, and with them came two natives 
who were allowed to enter the ships and ate the food 
that was given them. On Thursday, the last of April, 
the Portuguese again landed to get wood and water, 
and on this day about 400 natives appeared on the 
shore. They ate the food offered them and some even 
drank wine, and they helped to carry the wood with 
good-will and put it in the boats. Cabral said it would 
be well to go to the cross, which was leaning against 
a tree near the river, ready to be put in place the follow- 
ing day, Friday, and that his men should kneel before 
it and kiss it, so that the natives might see the veneration 
they had for it. This was done, and the ten or twelve 
natives who were present were directed by signs to do 
the same, and they all kissed it. 

Caminha, the author of the letter to King Manuel 
from which we are quoting, 3 remarks that they seemed 

1 This is described by Thome Lopes as a root which served as bread* 

2 These were so plentiful, that Brazil was later on described as the Land 
of Parrots on some maps. 

3 In Alguns Documentos, p. 108; it gives the most authentic and detailed 
account of the landing of Cabral in Brazil. 

283 



THE PORTUGUESE PIONEERS 

so innocent that if they and the Portuguese could 
understand one another, they would straightway be 
Christians, for they appeared to have no creed of their 
own. They neither tilled the land nor reared cattle, for 
they did not possess oxen, cows, goats, sheep or hens, 
and ate only inhame and the fruits of the earth and the 
trees. Notwithstanding this they were as strong and 
well nourished as the Portuguese who fed on corn and 
vegetables. On Friday, I May, the latter again landed 
with the banner and went in procession to the cross, 
with priests in front singing, and after the cross had 
been set up with the arms and device of King Manoel, 
an altar was prepared at the foot of it and Mass said. 
Fifty to seventy natives assisted on their knees, and at 
the Gospel, when the Portuguese stood with uplifted 
hands, they did the same until it was finished, and at the 
Elevation they knelt like the Portuguese with uplifted 
hands, which was very edifying to the latter. While the 
Communion was being given, one of them, a man of fifty 
or fifty-five years, spoke to his companions and pointed 
first to the altar and then to the sky, 'as if he were saying 
something good'. A sermon followed, and after it was 
over Nicolas Coelho brought a number of crucifixes of 
tin to be hung from the necks of the natives, and Frei 
Henry, sitting at the foot of the cross, gave one to each, 
making him first kiss it and raise his hands. 

The land from north to south, as far as it had been 
seen, appeared to Caminha to stretch out for twenty 
to twenty-five leagues. It was flat and full of great trees 
and very beautiful inland. No metals were found, but 
the air was good and temperate as in the province of 
Minho, and water abounded; but the best fruit to be 
obtained from it would be, in Caminha's opinion, the 
salvation of the people, and he told the King that this 

284 



NORTH AMERICA, BRAZIL AND THE ORIENT 

ought to be the chief seed he should sow. This letter is 
dated i May 1 500 and written from Torto Seguro in 
your island of Vera Cruz*, 1 so that the author believed 
Brazil to be a great island. But the voyages of Duarte 
Pacheco, Cabral and the Corte Reais convinced the 
Portuguese as early as 1501 that they had found a new 
continent, and that it ran continuously from Newfound- 
land to Brazil. 2 They never believed with Columbus 
that it formed part of Asia. Duarte Pacheco, writing in 
1505, alludes more than once to the fourth part of the 
world explored by his countrymen. 

It is strange that in a letter to the King of Spain of 
28 August 1501 King Manoel should have related the 
arrival of Cabral in Brazil as a new discovery, 3 but 
Portuguese historians recorded it as such and it was 
believed to be so, until recently, Barros, for instance, 
following the official version, says that Cabral, to escape 
from the Guinea coast, the calms of which might have 
impeded his journey, 4 sailed far out into the ocean, so as 
to make sure of being able to double the Cape of Good 
Hope, and, after following that course for a month, 
lighted on 24 April on another continental coast, which 
most of the pilots took to be a great island. The anony- 
mous pilot who describes Cabral's voyage does not 
attempt to explain the course taken. He only says that 
they could not find out if the land was an island or a 
continent, but inclined to the latter belief on account of 
its size. 

1 The name was changed to Brazil on account of the red wood it produced. 

2 This may be seen from the letters of Pietro Pasqualigo to his brothers 
and to the Venetian Senate previously referred to. 

3 We can only suppose that the King had reasons for maintaining the 
fiction. An inscription on the Cantino map also speaks of Cabral as having 
discovered Brazil. 

4 Ships were sometimes detained there more than a monthj John de 
Empoli in 1503 was becalmed for fifty-seven days. 

285 



THE PORTUGUESE PIONEERS 

The instructions given to Cabral 1 are supposed to 
have been dictated by da Gama, and, as we have seen, 
the former described a curve after passing the Cape 
Verde islands, as his predecessor had done, but a larger 
one. It is almost certain that he had orders to touch at 
Brazil, though these would be confidential, and we must 
remember that he had with him Duarte Pacheco, who 
had previously been in those parts. In spite of what 
Barros says, everyone could not have been in doubt, for 
Master John, the doctor, wrote to the King from Brazil : 
'As to the position of this land, let your Highness have a 
mappa mundi belonging to Pero Vaz Bisagudo brought 
to you and there you can see it, but that map does not 
certify whether this land is inhabited or no. It is an old 
mappa mundi, and there your Highness will also see 
Mina marked.' This last fact suggests that the map re- 
ferred to was made after 1471, but not much later, or 
it could hardly be called old, 2 Either Master John was 
mistaken in his identification, or Brazil had been found 
nearly thirty years before Cabral reached it and not 
merely before 1494, as Thorne says. Since Cabral went 
farther out of his course than he need have done, if he 
only wanted to avoid the doldrums of the Gulf of Guinea 
and catch a wind to round the Cape, some modern 
writers have suggested that he was driven westward by 
a storm, or currents, while others have invented an 
error of navigation. But there is nothing in the letters of 
John and Caminha to warrant the first two hypotheses, 
while the third is most unlikely, seeing that Cabral had 
Dias and Coelho with him, both of whom had been that 
way before. 

1 An English translation will be found in J. R. McClymont, Pedrakuarez, 
Cabral (London, 1914). 
8 Alguns Documentos, p. 122. 

286 



NORTH AMERICA, BRAZIL AND THE ORIENT 

In consequence of the report which Cabral also sent 
home before he left Brazil for the East and perhaps of 
Caminha's suggestion. King Manoel determined to 
have the coast explored for political and commercial 
ends, and a first expedition under Andre Gongalves, 
of whose doings nothing is known, appears to have been 
sent out during the year 1500, In 1501 another was 
despatched which is recorded by Antonio Galvao alone 
of the Portuguese historians of the sixteenth century 
in the following words: 'In this same year of I $01 and 
month of May three vessels left Lisbon by order of 
King Manoel to discover the coast of Brazil, and they 
sailed to catch sight of the Canaries and from there to 
Cape Verde and took in supplies at Beseguiche. 1 After 
crossing the line to the south, they came upon the coast 
of Brazil in five degrees of latitude and ran down it 
until they reached thirty-two degrees, more or less, 
according to their estimate, and then in the month of 
April they turned back on account of the cold and 
storms. They spent fifteen months in this discovery and 
voyage and came to Lisbon at the beginning of 
September/ 2 

The greater part of the Brazilian littoral, that is from 
Cape St. Roque to Rio Grande do Sul, was thus 
examined for the first time; but notwithstanding the 
importance of the voyage, Galvao gives it only a para- 
graph, as in the case of those of the Corte Reais, 
though he departs from his usual practice in not naming 
the leader. His statement that the mariners reached 
thirty-two degrees and then turned back on account 
of the cold and storms there is enigmatic, for at such 

1 The anonymous Portuguese pilot, in his account of CabraTs voyage, 
mentions meeting them there on his way home. 
* Discoveries of the World (Hakluyt Society ecL), p. 98. 

287 



THE PORTUGUESE PIONEERS 

a latitude the former would not be natural, and if he is 
correct, one can only presume that they experienced 
it after leaving the coast and striking south into the 
ocean; why such a course should have been taken is 
not clear. 

The name of Amerigo Vespucci is not mentioned 
in the old Portuguese histories, nor, so far as we know, 
in the thousands of contemporary documents in the 
national archives of the Torre do Tombo. But there 
is good reason to believe that he accompanied the 
expedition and that it is to be identified with the third 
of his supposed four voyages. These have been reduced 
to two by one of their latest students, Professor Alberto 
Magnaghi, 1 namely the voyage of 1499, probably 
made in company with Alonso de Ojeda, though 
Vespucci does not name him, and that of 1501. The 
Professor gives reasons for regarding the Mundus Novus 
and Letter to Soderini as fabrications, which will com- 
mend themselves to most readers of these works. He 
contends that the only genuine relations from the pen 
of Vespucci dealing with the voyages are his three 
epistles to Lorenzo di Piero Francesco de Medici. 
They are familiar letters and contain few geographical 
details, no doubt because the author had to be careful 
not to betray professional secrets. The account of the 
voyage of 1501 gives a description of Brazilian scenery 
and native life, which agrees to some extent with 
Caminha and it asserts that the expedition followed the 
coast for ten months to the extent of 800 leagues and 
reached fifty degrees of south latitude, which would 
explain the cold mentioned by Galvao. 2 But the maps 
of Canerio and Cantino, which shew the results and 

* Amerigo Vespucci (z vols., Rome, 1924). 
2 The text of this letter is printed by Professor Magnaghi, op. cit. ii, p. 323. 

288 



NORTH AMERICA, BRAZIL AND THE ORIENT 

mark the points visited, disprove the assertion and 
rather favour that of Galvao. 

If, as has been suggested, the leader was the Lisbon 
capitalist Fernao de Noronha, a new Christian or con- 
verted Jew, the expedition may well have included 
commercial aims. 1 Some writers think that^its main 
purpose was to make sure if Brazil was a continent and 
to seek a route to the spice countries shorter than that 
opened by da Gama, by means of a strait or the circum- 
navigation of the South American continent; the 
Spaniards were anxious to find it because the lands 
discovered by them had given no profit and the Portu- 
guese may have wished to anticipate them. 

The capacity in which Vespucci sailed is as uncertain 
as the reasons King Manoel had for inviting him to take 
part in the expedition.Thoughhe afterwards became chief 
pilot of Spain, he began life as a trader, first went to sea 
when already middle-aged, and was still agent of tKe 
house of Medici, so that it seems likely that he was 
employed to review the commercial possibilities of the 
new land. Both the experience he had gained with Ojeda, 
in which they had sailed up the coast of Venezuela, and 
his business knowledge would recommend him. In his 
letter describing the voyage of 1499 2 he says that the 
King of Spain was equipping three vessels for him to 
make another voyage of discovery and that he hoped 
to find the island of Taprobana (Ceylon) in the Indian 
seas, and Signor Magnaghi suggests that the object of 
King Manoel in sending for him may have been to 
prevent this voyage under a rival flag. However this 
may be, there is no doubt that if the King merely 
required a cosmographer, he had among his subjects 

1 For the expedition of 1501 vide Historia da Colonizaffio do Brasil, vol. ii, 
cap. 8. 2 A. Magnaghi, op. cit. vol. ii, p. 320. 

289 19 



THE PORTUGUESE PIONEERS 

men who had made a life study of the science and 
had no necessity to call upon a foreigner and a relative 
amateur. 

On the return of the expedition of 1 50 1 King Manoel 
decided to farm out the trade of the new country to a 
syndicate of new Christians, with whom Fernao de 
Noronha was associated. The terms were that the com- 
pany should supply six vessels, discover 300 leagues 
of coast annually, build a fort and deliver 20,000 
quintals of dyewood. In pursuance of this contract an 
expedition under Gongalo Coelho went out in 1503 
which followed the Brazilian coast down to the Rio de 
Cananea and is referred to by Goes in a single para- 
graph. 1 Four of the ships were lost, but the other two 
returned with dyewood, monkeys and parrots. Fernao 
de Noronha seems to have accompanied Coelho and 
found the island named after him, 2 and the other 
achievement, the erection of a fort at Cape Frio, is 
related in the account of the fourth voyage of Ves- 
pucci, but it is now very generally agreed that he did 
not make it. When he came back to Lisbon in July 
1502 he says that he waited some time to see if the 
King had farther need of him and then re-entered the 
service of Spain. Signor Magnaghi seeks to account for 
his having temporarily left it by suggesting that he 
had permission to do so, in order to obtain information 
about rival plans. He was in fact a spy, and his bitter 
remarks about Portuguese captains and pilots suggest 
that they made little of the nautical knowledge he 
claimed to possess. 

When the contract of 1502 expired, the trade with 
Brazil was thrown open and voyages by private ad- 

1 Cronica de D. Manuel, cap. 65. 
J Alguns Documentor, p. 460. 

290 



NORTH AMERICA, BRAZIL AND THE ORIENT 

venturers, 1 French as well as Portuguese, became fre- 
quent, though few of them are recorded; and the latter 
also sailed to Spanish America, as related by Juan de la 
Cosa and others. Finally in 1519, Ferdinand Magellan, 
by his feat the greatest of navigators, came the same 
way, leading the expedition which first rounded the 
globe. Planned by Portuguese cosmographers and 
cartographers and guided by Portuguese pilots, it was 
the logical consequence of the efforts put forth from 
the time of Prince Henry, and proved their superiority 
in the art of navigation. Some three-quarters of a cen- 
tury later he was followed by Drake, who with the aid 
of Portuguese charts and a Portuguese pilot repeated 
the achievement, but under less difficult conditions. 

We must now return to Cabral's voyage. 2 He left the 
Brazilian coast on 2 May and, during his passage over 
the Atlantic to the Cape, his fleet was struck by a sud- 
den squall on the 23rd. Four vessels foundered with all 
aboard, including that of Bartholomew Dias. Farther 
on the weather was very bad, and a storm lasted twenty 
days during which the ships had to run with bare poles, 
and when they arrived off Sofala on 16 July the re- 
maining six were so damaged that they were 'more fit 
to return to the kingdom, if it had been near, than to 
conquer others'. They reached Mozambique on the 
20th and Kilwa on the 2,6th, but in neither place could 
they do any trade, and at the latter they were regarded 
as corsairs. At Malindi, however, they had a good 

1 On the other hand Cha de Masser, sent to Lisbon by the Venetian Senate, 
reported in 1506 that the contract was for ten years and that Noronha had 
to get out 20,000 quintal* of Brazil wood and pay 4000 ducats to the crown. 
(Capistrano de Abreu, descobrimento do Brazil, 1929, p. 266.) 

2 Following the account by the anonymous pilot, which was published 
by Ramusio in Italian and retranslated into Portuguese and printed in vol. ii 
of the CoUecf&o de noticiaspara a Mstoria egeografhia das nafoes ultramarmas 
(Lisbon, 1812). 

291 



THE PORTUGUESE PIONEERS 

reception and obtained a Guzarati pilot to take them 
across the Indian Ocean. On 22 August they came to the 
island of Anjediva where they spent fifteen days taking 
in wood and water, and there the crews confessed 
and received Holy Communion. They finally reached 
Calicut on 1 3 September after a passage of six months, 
which was to be the usual length of an Indian voyage, 
even when no call was made at Brazil and neither storms 
nor accidents were encountered. They had on board Mon- 
$aide and the men who had been carried off by da Gama. 
After obtaining hostages, Cabral landed and had an 
audience of the Samuri and handed him the presents 
sent by King Manoel, which were much richer than 
those taken by da Gama. But after a stay of three 
months he was only able to get cargoes for two of his 
ships, owing to the obstructive policy of the Moslem 
merchants. In answer to his protest, the King then de- 
clared that no more Moorish vessels should be loaded 
until those of the Portuguese had obtained their cargoes, 
and that if this order was disobeyed, Cabral might take 
them and see if they carried spices. On 1 6 December 
a Moorish ship sailed out with a cargo of spices and 
thereupon Cabral seized it, with the result that a crowd 
of 3000 Moors, apparently with the King's permission, 
attacked the factory which the former had established 
on shore and killed Ayres Correa, the factor, and fifty 
of his men. Thereupon Cabral seized ten Moorish ships, 
slaughtered their crews, appropriated the cargoes and 
bombarded the city. He then went on to Cochin and 
Cananor where he loaded the rest of his ships, and in 
July 1501 arrived in Lisbon with six vessels, all that 
remained of the thirteen with which he had started. 
Nevertheless the value of the goods which he brought 
amply repaid the cost of the whole fleet, and he earned 

292 



NORTH AMERICA, BRAZIL AND THE ORIENT 

the distinction of being the first man to voyage from 
South America to India. His political action at Calicut 
has been severely criticised by some writers; but though 
he had orders not to interfere with Moorish vessels at 
Calicut, when he met them at sea he was to capture 
them and do all the harm he could to the Moors, as a 
race with whom the Portuguese had traditional enmity 
and because it was a duty to God so to act. 1 

King Manoel had previously determined that a fleet 
should sail yearly to the East in the month of March, 
the proper time to catch a favourable wind in the Indian 
Ocean, and before Cabral returned he sent out John 
da Nova with four, vessels, including a Florentine 
merchantman, which came back in September 1502 
with a cargo of spices and discovered the island of St. 
Helena. After hearing of Cabral's experiences at Calicut, 
opinions in the Royal Council differed as to the wisdom 
of pursuing the Eastern adventure, but the opportunity 
of spreading Christianity, together with the large profits 
to be made, led the majority to vote for perseverance, 
and as da Gama had met with studied hostility from the 
Moors 2 on his outward voyage and in India, and the 
attack on CabraPs men had come from the same quarter, 
it seemed necessary to teach them a lesson if trade was 
to continue. For this purpose da Gama was again sent 
out in February 1 502 with a large fleet of fifteen ships, 
followed in April by five more under Stephen da Gama, 
which joined the main body later. 3 Most of them went 

1 Alguns Documentos, p. 104. His action is explained and defended by 
King Manoel in the letter of 28 August 1501 previously cited. 

2 All Mohammedans were called Moors by the Portuguese. 

8 The voyage is described by Thome' Lopes and his account was published 
in Ramusio in an Italian version, and this was retranslated into Portuguese 
and issued by the Lisbon Academy of Sciences in vol. ii of the Collecfao de 
notidas previously mentioned. 

293 



THE PORTUGUESE PIONEERS 

to load spices, but a squadron was to remain under Vin- 
cent Sodre to protect the factories already established at 
Cochin and Cananor and to intercept Mohammedan 
merchant ships sailing to the Red Sea. On the way out 
da Gama extracted from the Sultan of Kilwa a tribute 
of 2000 maticals of gold (about 890) out of which 
King Manoel caused a monstrance to be made for the 
Jeronimos Church at Belem, which is regarded as a 
masterpiece of the goldsmith's art. Moreover, he took a 
cruel vengeance on the hereditary foes of his countrymen 
by burning a ship which he met coming from Mecca 
with all on board, save some children. On reaching 
India he made war on Calicut, bombarded the city and 
destroyed a fleet sent against him. The acts of fright- 
fulness committed by him and some of his successors 
may perhaps, apart from the cruelty of those times and 
the lust for revenge, be explained by the fact that the 
Portuguese were a mere handful of men at a year's 
distance from home, among hundreds of thousands of 
actual and potential foes. It was probably felt that these 
had to be cowed for safety's sake. But as trade was their 
object, the Portuguese sought to obtain it by peaceful 
means when this was possible, and hence we have the 
multitude of treaties published by Biker in the fourteen 
volumes of his collection. 1 

In 1503 three separate squadrons sailed to the East, 
one of which was commanded by Afonso de Albuquer- 
que and another by his cousin Francisco, and in 1504 
Lopo Scares de Meneses went out with thirteen ships. 
The Albuquerques arrived just in time to save the 
friendly Raja of Cochin, whose state had been invaded by 
the Samuri to punish him for befriending the Portu- 

1 CoUecfdo de tratados . . . que o estado da India portuguexa fex com os 
rets . . . nas paries da Asia (14 vols., Lisbon, 1881 

294 



NORTH AMERICA, BRAZIL AND THE ORIENT 

guese. They raised a wooden fort and garrisoned it to 
safeguard the factory and protect their ally. This was a 
first step towards dominion, and no sooner had they de- 
parted for home than events justified their action, for 
the Samuri returned. Duarte Pacheco, who had been 
left in charge with a small force, defeated him in seven 
battles at the fords of Cochin, and also routed a large 
Calicut fleet. He thereby gained such prestige for his 
countrymen throughout Southern India that the native 
princes shewed eagerness to trade and ally with them, 
while for himself he earned a coat of arms from the Raja 
of Cochin, and at home the title of the Lusitanian 
Achilles. As early as 1 501 spices from Portugal reached 
Antwerp, and, soon after, the leading German and 
Italian firms who dealt in copper, which was needed 
for exchange with Indian goods, set up branches in 
Lisbon. Venice realised the menace to her supremacy 
from the discovery of the new route to the East and 
sent a series of secret agents to Lisbon, whose reports 
shewed the commercial revolution which was taking 
place. The Republic also despatched envoys to the Sultan 
of Egypt, whose interests were equally prejudiced by the 
loss of dues on the transit of spices over his territories, 
to engage him to take measures of self-protection. This 
led him to threaten to destroy the Holy Places in 
Palestine, unless the Portuguese abandoned their Indian 
voyages, and Frei Mauro, prior of the Convent of St. 
Catharine on Mount Sinai, proceeded to Rome and 
endeavoured to induce the Pope to forbid them. Word 
of this mission and its object reached King Manoel 
some time in 1 504, but instead of bowing to the threat, 
he resolved, with the advice of his Council, to keep a 
large and permanent force in the East under a general 
of high rank. As his object was now no less than the 

295 



THE PORTUGUESE PIONEERS 

monopoly of the spice trade, he realised that he must em- 
bark on a struggle, not only with the Moslems in India, 
but with their co-religionists and natural auxiliaries the 
Egyptians and Turks, or Rumes, 1 the latter of whom 
were subjects of the greatest military state in the world; 
and when Frei Mauro reached Lisbon in June 1505 
to beg him to change his policy, the expedition had 
already started. The King's choice of a leader fell upon 
D. Francisco de Almeida, a distinguished member of 
a noble house, who left in the previous March with 
twenty-two sail carrying 2500 men, 1500 of them being 
soldiers; and, like that of Cabral, the fleet included 
foreign merchant ships, in this case belonging to Ger- 
man trading-houses, the Fuggers, Welzers and others. 
On the way out Almeida inaugurated the plan of 
establishing strongholds on the East African coast to 
safeguard the route to India. His predecessors had made 
treaties with the local sultans, or at most compelled 
them to accept Portuguese suzerainty, but he erected a 
fort at Kilwa, 'so strong that it would keep even the King 
of France at bay', and reduced Mombasa. On his arrival 
in India he assumed the title of Viceroy, and set up his 
seat of government at Cochin ; he strengthened the fort 
by walls of stone and built other forts at Anjediva and 
Cananor. He also pursued the war against Calicut and 
sent his son Lourengo to bombard Quilon, where the 
Moslems had murdered the factor and his men, and 
then to Ceylon to open a trade in cinnamon. This was 
the first visit of the Portuguese to the island, which they 
were afterwards to dominate, until expelled by the 
Dutch a century and a half later. 

The friendly relations established by Almeida's pre- 
decessors with the Rajas of Cochin and Cananor en- 

1 Rumes = Romans, /.*. inhabitants of New Rome or Constantinople. 

296 



NORTH AMERICA, BRAZIL AND THE ORIENT 

abled the Portuguese to obtain all the pepper they could 
load at those ports, while Moslem ships found without 
a permit from them were captured, and Lisbon ripidly 
superseded Venice as the mart for Eastern products. 
These included the following spices: pepper, ginger, 
cinnamon, mace, cloves and nutmeg; while the principal 
drugs were red sandalwood, verzin, wormwood, mastic, 
spikenard, borax, camphor, rhubarb, aloes, musk and 
civet. In 1504 Portuguese ships landed a large cargo 
of spices at Falmouth, but the principal distributing 
centre in Northern Europe was the factory at 
Antwerp x founded by John II, and famous in com- 
mercial history. According to Duarte Pacheco, some 
30,000 quintals of drugs and spices came yearly from 
India. As King Manoel did not listen to Frei Mauro's 
appeal, though it was supported by the Pope, the 
Sultan of Egypt resolved to have recourse to arms, 
and early in 1 507 his fleet, manned by Levantines and 
Turks, started for the Indian coast to expel the Euro- 
pean intruders, and in March 1508 it defeated a squad- 
ron of the Viceroy's son off Chaul. The very existence 
and not merely the reputation of the Portuguese de- 
pended on the delivery of an effective counterblow, and 
though over 100 Indian ships had joined the Egyptian 
fleet when Almeida met the allies at Diu on 3 February 
with only nineteen, he gained a complete victory; it was 
one of the decisive battles of Asiatic history, and thence- 
forth for a century the dominion of the Indian Ocean 
remained in Portuguese hands. 

Already in 1506 Tristao da Cunha had sailed up the 
coast of Madagascar and taken possession of the Arab 

1 Vide Braamcamp Freire, A feitoria de Flandres (Lisbon, 1920), and 
J. A. Goris, Les Colonies Marchandes Mtridionales a Arwers de 1488 a 1567 
(Louvain, 1925). 

297 



THE PORTUGUESE PIONEERS 

fort on the island of Socotra to prevent Moslem vessels 
from entering and leaving the Red Sea. But it was soon 
found that Aden was the true key and this outpost was 
abandoned. Alfonso de Albuquerque, who accompanied 
him in command of a separate squadron, conquered 
Ormuz, dominating the Persian Gulf, and at the end of 
1509 he succeeded Almeida as governor of India. In 
the six years of his rule he established Portuguese 
supremacy in the East on a firm footing. In 1 5 1 o he took 
Goa, afterwards known as Golden for its wealth, and 
made it his capital, and in 1511 he seized Malacca, 
first visited by Diogo Lopes de Sequeira in 1509, to 
control the narrow straits by which the traffic of the 
Far East reached the West. From there he opened up 
communications with Java, Siam, Pegu and Cochin 
China, and exchanged embassies with Shah Ismael of 
Persia, while Queen Helena of Abyssinia sought his 
friendship. He failed to reduce Aden, but he put such 
fear into the Sultan of Egypt, who had never seen 
a hostile fleet in his waters, that the latter remained 
henceforth on the defensive. Albuquerque called it 
'the greatest blow in the house of Mohammed for a 
century'. 

When he died in 1515, he had laid the foundations 
of European sovereignty in the East, and his action 
has special importance in world history, because the 
Portuguese, after breaking through that fear of unknown 
seas which kept Europe apart from Asia, set up a model 
which their successors imitated in varying degrees. 
They had in the beginning no idea of establishing a 
political dominion. As happened afterwards to the 
Dutch and English, it was forced upon them when in 
the pursuit of legitimate trade. The latter, however, 
had only commercial objects in view, but the Portu- 

298 



NORTH AMERICA, BRAZIL AND THE ORIENT 

guese monarchs were also crusaders and evangelisers. 
They sought to continue in the East that war against 
the infidel which they had waged for centuries in the 
West, and to spread the Gospel. Under the banner of 
the Quinas, which displayed the symbol of Redemption, 
the missionaries they sent out founded native Christian 
communities which still exist on the Malabar coast and 
in Ceylon, and in Japan a church which, though de- 
stroyed by persecution, gave martyrs not inferior in 
heroism to those who adorned Rome under the Caesars, 
But this work of evangelisation, associated with the 
name of St. Francis Xavier, began only in the reign 
of John III; the time of King Manoel was one of 
empire-building and trade, of which Albuquerque was 
the great instrument. His first task was to drive 
Mohammedans from enemy states off the Indian 
Ocean, and next to regulate its commercial traffic for 
the benefit of his countrymen, an undertaking new to 
history. His predecessors had required that every 
native vessel should carry a Portuguese passport. He 
enforced this, but would give none for the Red Sea. 
On the land he rested his dominions on four bases: 
direct rule over the chief trading centres, Ormuz, 
Malacca and Goa, the last being the pivot of the whole; 
fortresses at strategic points on the east coast of Africa 
and in India, as naval bases, and to protect the factories; 
where fortresses were impracticable, suzerainty over 
native rulers, who paid tribute to the King of Portugal; 
and lastly, the colonisation of the territory of Goa, by 
means of marriages between Portuguese and native 
women. 

He hoped by this policy to induce his countrymen 
to settle down and form a loyal population. As it was 
impossible to send white women to India, his scheme 

299 



THE PORTUGUESE PIONEERS 

of mixed marriages seemed the only solution, and it 
was made practicable by the fact that the Portuguese 
had no objection to mixing their blood. They had 
already done so at home with Africans brought home 
by the early navigators. He could not keep his officers 
in the East, but he was anxious to maintain there a body 
of artisans, soldiers, and especially gunners, for his 
power depended, next to personal valour, on artillery. 
After his final conquest of Goa, he married some 
hundreds of his men to natives, mostly widows of slain 
Moslems. He presided at the weddings and is said to 
have conducted the ceremony himself, and he gave 
dowries. There were many candidates for these unions, 
but according to his own statement he chose them care- 
fully, and only granted leave to marry to men of good 
character and services. It seems, however, that at first 
they were convicts, which made fat fidalgos laugh at 
him. They said that the Christian community he aimed 
at could never be established by such means. But they 
were wrong, as Barros points out, for in his day the first 
settlers of the island of St. Thomas and later those of 
Australia belonged to the same class. 

The half-caste population which came into being 
tended to degenerate, and had not the virility of 
Europeans. The children, being spoiled by their parents, 
grew up with bad habits, and, according to Caspar 
Correa, Albuquerque suggested that they should be 
sent to Portugal at the age of twelve and only return 
at twenty-five. Yet some of these half-breeds were to 
distinguish themselves both in military and civil posts, 
and in view of the scanty population of Portugal and 
the calls on it from settlements in so many quarters 
of the globe, her Eastern rule could scarcely have been 
supported so long as it was in any other way. 

300 



NORTH AMERICA, BRAZIL AND THE ORIENT 

The district of Goa contained a large native popula- 
tion, which could not be displaced and had to be 
governed. Albuquerque kept the city under his own 
authority, establishing a senate modelled on that of 
Lisbon, the first in the East, but he entrusted the 
administration of justice and finance to native officials. 
He respected Eastern customs, except in the case of 
the cruel practice of sati, which he abolished at once, 
while the English tolerated it for long after they had 
established an effective rule. He maintained the ancient 
village communities, an integral part of Indian life, and 
after his death a register was compiled which served 
as a guide to future administrators. He made use of 
Hindu clerks, not only in the revenue department, but 
also in the factories, and established schools to educate 
native children and teach them Portuguese. The lan- 
guage of the conquerors became a lingua franca through- 
out the East and, though much corrupted, it is still 
spoken in some parts, while their names are found 
everywhere. The Dutch, who ruled for about as long, 
left no such trace behind them. 

The greatest difficulty Albuquerque had to contend 
with was the financial one, for the dominion he founded 
did not prove self-supporting, and though King Manoel 
drew a net revenue of a million cruzados from the East, 
he was unable to give much of it back. The equipment 
of the annual fleets, the substitution of vessels wrecked 
and the maintenance of the fortresses in Morocco were 
a heavy burden, and in addition the King spent royally 
on buildings, embassies and pensions to the nobles. All 
these things together are enough to account for his 
embarrassments, and though the spice trade was a royal 
monopoly, he had not sufficient capital to work success- 
fully a commercial undertaking of such magnitude. 

301 



THE PORTUGUESE PIONEERS 

When we read of the naval and military successes 
achieved by Albuquerque with a small number of ships 
and a force never exceeding 4000 Europeans, and 
usually of only half that number against greatly superior 
forces, it is natural to enquire how they were obtained, 
especially as some of his foes, like the Turks, were ex- 
cellent soldiers. The answer is to be found in the moral 
superiority of the white man, in the self-confidence and 
reckless valour of the conquistador as, in their armour, 
stouter vessels and better, though not so numerous, 
artillery. In a sea fight the odds were in their favour, 
for their ships were built for the long and stormy voyage 
round the Cape, while those of their enemies had usually 
been designed for crossing the Indian Ocean with a 
favourable wind and for navigating the placid waters 
of the Red Sea and Persian Gulf. Moreover the Portu- 
guese were better sailors. They felt at home in a storm, 
while the Turks and Levantines, who had been trained 
in the Mediterranean and relied more on galleys than 
on sailing-ships, suffered severely during the monsoons. 
As a rule, too, the Portuguese guns were more skilfully 
served. On land, though the combatants were more 
evenly matched, the matchlock and cross-bow, when 
the fighting was at long range, did more execution than 
the bow, and at close quarters a few knights on horse- 
back, by their ilan^ the fear they caused, and their sword- 
work and protective armour, could rout large bodies of 
native foot soldiers. The reverses that Albuquerque met 
with were due to lack of numbers, or to lack of disci- 
pline and mutual jealousies, common Portuguese defects. 

Lastly and chiefly, Albuquerque's successes must be 
attributed to his own personality. When he became 
governor of India he was relatively an old man for 
that time and those climates, but his lofty vision was 

302 



NORTH AMERICA, BRAZIL AND THE ORIENT 

accompanied by a commanding character and a tenacity 
of purpose which few leaders of men have possessed in 
equal degree. And though over-hasty of temper and 
sometimes cruel, he sought to repair any injustices he 
had committed, kept his word to his enemies and was 
respected even by Moslems, on whom he bore most 
hardly. He had a talent for civil administration as well 
as for war, while in diplomacy he could meet Orientals 
with their own weapons. In the first he devised methods 
some of which are still employed by the British ; in the 
second his achievements speak for themselves; while 
in the third he turned the jealousies of rival creeds and 
native rulers to his own advantage and acted on the 
maxim divide et imfera. 

The dominion he established consisted of the over- 
lordship of the ocean, the shores of which were dotted 
with fortresses in a huge semi-circle from the coast of 
East Africa to the Moluccas, and his successors did 
but develop the policy he had laid down. In less than 
a century and a half from his death in 1515 this 
dominion crumbled. Portugal had not the resources to 
maintain her monopoly against the attacks of the Dutch 
and English. But that she should have held it so long 
against the Mohammedan world was, in the words of 
Sir William Hunter, a lasting glory to her and Christen- 
dom. With Admiral Ballard we may say that the name 
of Albuquerque is still the greatest, not only in the 
history of the Portuguese in the East, but in the annals 
of the Indian Ocean. His captains and men also deserve 
to be remembered, for, to quote again from Hunter, the 
achievements of the Portuguese in the East would have 
done credit to a great power, and when carried out by 
a small kingdom they read like a romance. 

After his occupation of Malacca in 151 1, Albuquerque 

303 



THE PORTUGUESE PIONEERS 



sent a squadron of three vessels to explore the Moluccas 
under Antonio de Abreu and Francisco Serrao, a friend 
of Magellan. They visited Java and Amboina, setting 
up pillars in each, and Abreu took in a cargo of nuts, 
fruits and cloves at Banda, but bad weather prevented 
him from reaching the Northern islands. Serrao, during 
the voyage to Banda, was wrecked on an uninhabited 
island, but rescued by a native boat and taken to 
Ternate, where he became a power by the assistance 
he gave to the Sultan in his wars against the rival ruler 
of Tidor, He sent a full description of the Spice Islands 
to Magellan, saying he had discovered a new world, 
larger and richer than that found by Vasco da Gama, 
and the information thus obtained was of the greatest 
service to the latter in his efforts to persuade the 
Spanish government to equip the expedition which 
made the first circumnavigation of the globe. 

When the news of the discovery reached the Pen- 
insula it was rumoured that the islands lay in the 
Spanish sphere, and in the autumn of 1 5 1 2 King Fer- 
dinand talked of sending out a fleet to take possession 
of them. This came to the knowledge of King Man- 
oel and determined him to seek Papal support for his 
claim to them, and in the spring of 1 5 14 he sent Tristao 
da Cunha to tender his obedience to Leo X and lay the 
spoils of the East at the feet of the successor of St. 
Peter. The embassy, still remembered by its magni- 
ficence and worthy of the Fortunate Monarch, was cal- 
culated to impress even a Medici, but the pontiff had 
more solid reasons to give a favourable answer to the 
ambassador's requests. The capture of Malacca had put 
the crown on the Portuguese achievements ; not since the 
days of Alexander had the arms of Europe won such a 
victory in Asia, and never those of Christianity, and it 

304 



NORTH AMERICA, BRAZIL AND THE ORIENT 

seemed that the whole East now lay open to the work of 
evangelisation. Leo could refuse nothing to the sovereign 
who had given the Church new realms to conquer, and 
on 3 November 1514, by the bull Precelsae devotionis, he 
renewed the concessions made by his predecessors to 
Portugal and granted her the lands acquired from infi- 
dels, not only up to the Indies, but in any region what- 
ever. As Miss F. C. Davenport says, the Pope in effect 
treated the line of demarcation as though it was con- 
fined to one hemisphere, for he allowed the Portuguese, 
following the Eastern route, to acquire lands, even 
though they might be more than half-way round the 
globe, and, so far as he could, he secured possession 
of the Moluccas to King Manoel. Nevertheless the 
Spaniards, relying on the treaty of Tordesillas, took no 
notice of the bull, and in 1518 Ferdinand Magellan, 
who had served in the East and Morocco, left Portugal 
because he could not obtain a rise in his pension and 
persuaded Charles V to entrust him with an expedition 
to those parts. In 1521 it reached the Moluccas, loaded 
spices and made treaties with native rulers, though 
these actions led to hostilities with the Portuguese who 
were already established there. 

On the return to Spain of the Victoria^ the only vessel 
which completed the voyage round the world, negotia- 
tions began between the two powers. Charles V ad- 
mitted the Portuguese discovery of the islands, but 
denied their effective possession, putting forward the 
treaties made by his captains, and suggested that the 
line of demarcation should be drawn to ascertain in 
whose sphere the islands really lay. This was accepted, 
and a treaty, signed at Badajos on 19 February 1524, 
provided that each country should send three astro- 
nomers and three pilots to meet on the frontier and fix 

305 20 



THE PORTUGUESE PIONEERS 

the line, while the same number of lawyers from each 
should settle the question of ownership. The meeting, 
or Junta, took place at Badajos in March but had no 
result, because neither power would state its case for 
possession, while the nautical knowledge of the time 
was not equal to determining the line and therefore the 
position of the islands. For some years there seemed to 
be no way out of this impasse, but in 1529 Charles, 
always financially embarrassed, needed a large sum of 
money for his journey to Italy to receive the Imperial 
crown and agreed to pledge his rights in the islands to 
John III for the sum of 350,000 gold ducats; he also 
owed the dowry of his sister Catharine, who had married 
the King of Portugal. Astronomers and pilots were to 
examine the claims of the parties and if the decision was 
in favour of Charles, it was not to take effect until he re- 
paid the loan, while if it favoured Portugal, he was to 
pay the amount in four years. This agreement was in- 
corporated in the treaty of Saragossa, 17 April 1529. 
But the treaty was not ratified, and on 22 April of the 
same year a second treaty was concluded on much the 
same terms, except that it omitted a clause by which 
Charles was to order his Council to find out if the treaty 
could legally be made without the consent of the Cortes, 
seeing that the Emperor had promised them that he 
would not alienate the islands. Charles abrogated this 
promise in exercise of his absolute power, and the 
Moluccas, which as we now know were in the Portu- 
guese sphere, remained in possession of John III and 
his successors until the Dutch invasion in the seven- 
teenth century. 

When Diogo de Sequeira went to discover Malacca, 
he carried elaborate instructions to enquire about the 
Chinese, their country, religion, trade, ships, wealth, 

306 



NORTH AMERICA, BRAZIL AND THE ORIENT 

arms and dress. On reaching the city he found some of 
their junks in the harbour, but owing to the hostility of 
the Malays, he was obliged to return to Portugal with- 
out the desired information. When Albuquerque was 
there in 1511, he also met with some junks and estab- 
lished such good relations with the owners, that these 
not only offered to help in his military operations, but 
conveyed his ambassadors to Siam and, more important 
still, they carried home such a good impression of the 
Portuguese, that when the deposed Sultan of Malacca 
took refuge in China and solicited aid against the Euro- 
pean intruders, he failed to obtain it. After Albuquerque 
returned to India, the governor he had left at Malacca 
was too busied in repelling native hostility to think of 
extending Portuguese influence and trade, but in 1514 
he sent a mission to China, which, although not allowed 
to land, sold the goods it carried at a profit. This mission 
is mentioned in the letters of two Italians, Andrew 
Corsali and John de Empoli, and alluded to by Barros. 
The next European to visit China was Raphael Peres- 
trello, like Empoli an Italian in the Portuguese service; 
when his brother was appointed factor of Malacca in 
1514, he had accompanied him with orders to discover 
China. He carried out this commission in the following 
year, travelling in a junk with a number of Portuguese, 
and returned with a rich cargo and the news that the 
Chinese desired peace and friendship with Portugal and 
that they were 'good people 1 . 

These expeditions were of a tentative nature, and 
the first official embassy ordered from home was con- 
ducted by Fernao Peres de Andrade, who sailed to the 
East in 1515 with Lopo Scares de Albergaria, Albu- 
querque's successor in the governorship of India. The 
ambassador selected by Lopo Soares was named Thome 

307 



THE PORTUGUESE PIONEERS 

Peres, a man who had served with success on various 

missions in the time of Albuquerque; by profession 

he was an apothecary and it was apparently hoped that 

he would bring back useful plants. Andrade left Cochin 

in April 1516. At Pasai in Sumatra he met Empoli, 

who was also bound for the Celestial Empire on a 

trading venture, and in July he reached Malacca, but 

did not hasten to his goal, because he was more inclined 

to proceed to Bengal, the discovery of which was also 

included in the instructions he had received from 

King Manoel. However, when Perestrello returned to 

Malacca from his successful voyage, Andrade resolved 

to postpone his visit to Bengal, and in December 1516 

he went to Pasai to take in a cargo of pepper and left 

for China in June 1517. His fleet consisted of his own 

vessel, the Esphera of 800 tons, and seven others, 

Portuguese and native. All were armed and had Chinese 

pilots. They arrived at Tamau at the mouth of the 

Canton river and applied for leave to go up to the city, 

but as this was delayed, Andrade left part of the fleet 

at Tamau under Simon d'Alcafova and himself went 

over to Lantau, from where he sent Empoli to press 

for the desired permission. This was given, and in 

September he sailed up the Canton river and anchored 

before the city, sending Empoli to explain the object 

of the mission. The officials allowed the ambassador 

Peres to land, assigned him a residence and promised 

to write to the Emperor about him. Andrade was also 

invited on shore, but refused to leave his vessels, 

alleging royal orders. He, however, obtained the use 

of a house for the sale of the merchandise he had 

brought and supplied men for the purpose, instructing 

them to see as much of the city as they could and bring 

him information. Later on, the news that Alca9ova had 

308 



NORTH AMERICA, BRAZIL AND THE ORIENT 

been attacked by pirates and an outbreak of fever, 
which carried off Empoli and eight others, decided 
him to return to Tamau; and when after some months 
he heard that the Emperor had agreed to receive the 
ambassador, he left for Malacca in September 1518. 
The tact and ability he had displayed in dealing with 
the Chinese had given them a good impression of the 
Portuguese and enabled him to take back a valuable 
cargo. Unfortunately his work was ruined by the ill- 
behaviour of the leader of the next expedition, so that 
many years passed before the relations of the two 
countries were re-established on a friendly footing, and 
it was not until 1557 that the Portuguese could settle 
at Macau, which they still hold. The unfortunate 
Thome Peres never succeeded in obtaining an audience 
of the Emperor, but was imprisoned at Canton where 
he died, and the presents he had brought from the King 
of Portugal were confiscated. 1 

Though the Portuguese were for a time forbidden to 
trade with China, the profits obtainable were so large 
that some could not resist the temptation, and in 1 542 
three men, Antonio da Mota, Francisco Zeimoto and 
Antonio Peixoto, started from Siam with a cargo of 
skins for Chincheu. On the way they encountered a 
typhoon laking twenty-four hours, and after it had 
passed, their battered junk was carried by the winds 
in fifteen days to islands unknown to them. Boats came 
out from the land containing men whiter than the 
Chinese but with small eyes and scanty hair, who said 
that those islands were called Nippon. They received 
the Portuguese well and, after bartering their mer- 

1 Vide Donald Ferguson, Letters from Portuguese captives in Canton 
written in 1534 and 1536 (Bombay, 1902). The letters give interesting 
information about China and are preceded by an introduction on Portuguese 
intercourse with the country in the first half of the sixteenth century. 

309 



THE PORTUGUESE PIONEERS 

chandise for silver and repairing their vessel, the latter 
returned to Malacca. This was the first recorded visit 
of Europeans to Japan. 

Exploration was also carried on by land and for the 
sake of knowledge, not of trade or dominion, and in 
this the Jesuits won the palm. Anselmo de Andrade 
found his way into Thibet; Bento de Goes made a 
journey lasting five years from India to China; and 
Pedro Paes and Jeronimo Lobo sought to discover the 
sources of the Nile. These heroic travellers deserve 
more credit than their successors, because they had 
hardly any of their advantages. Licence is a privilege 
of poets, and we are not surprised that Camoens 
should say of his countrymen : *E se mais mundo Iwu- 
vera, Id chegara! 1 

There is a controversy, still undecided, as to whether 
the poet's patriotic boast is justified in the case of 
Australia. A claim to its discovery by the Portuguese 
was put in by R. H. Major and supported by Mr. 
George Collingridge; 2 but it is not endorsed by the 
early Portuguese historians, and the most that can be 
said is that the existence of the island-continent was 
known to them. In 1569 Gabriel Rebello, who resided 
in the Moluccas, in an account of them first printed in 
1856, says, when speaking of the Papuan Archipelago: 
'According to the information existing about these 
islands, they run along a great land which seems to be 
that imagined to the south, which on the east side and 
to the west reaches to the strait of Magellan 1 . 3 By the 
land 'imagined to the South' he clearly means the 
Austral continent marked on many sixteenth century 

1 "If there had been more of the world, they would have reached it.' 

2 The Discovery of Australia (Sydney, 1895). 
8 InformafSo das cousas de Maluco, cap. u. 

310 



NORTH AMERICA, BRAZIL AND THE ORIENT 

maps, and probably based on the idea that a continent 
must exist there to balance those in the north and on a 
misunderstanding of statements of Marco Polo. Carto- 
graphers seem to have found a confirmation of this idea 
in the discovery by Magellan of Tierra del Fuego, and 
accordingly they drew a broad strip of land from there 
to as far as the longitude of Australia and called it 
sometimes Magellanica and sometimes Java, reputed 
to be the largest island in the world. 1 

The only existing evidence for a pre-Dutch discovery 
of Australia is based on maps, and while the country 
is absent from the Portuguese charts of Francisco 
Rodrigues, who acted as pilot in the expedition of 
Abreu in 1511 and from that of Pedro Reinel of 1517, 
it appears in French maps made at Dieppe, e.g. in the 
enormous Dauphin map (1530?), in one of Jean Rotz 
(1542), both of which are at the British Museum, and 
in three of Pierre Desceliers (1536, 1546, 1550) repro- 
ductions of which have been published by the Earl of 
Crawford. These maps contain Portuguese names inter- 
mingled with French, which suggests that they are 
derived from Portuguese originals. 

The Dauphin and Desceliers maps shew a continental 
land, the north, north-west, and north-east coasts of 
which have capes, inlets and place-names ; but the west 
and east coasts are carried down to the southern ex- 
tremity and have few or no details. This fact leads one 
to think that the southerly extension is conjectural, and 
in the Desceliers maps the interior is filled with draw- 
ings of huts, castles, idolaters and animals, which are 
clearly the product of fancy. Rotz also delineates the 
north, north-west and north-east coasts, but he does 

1 The Portuguese established themselves in Java in 1521 and the ruins of 
their great fortress at Djapara may still be seen. 



THE PORTUGUESE PIONEERS 

not extend the west and east coasts to the bottom of the 
map, thus giving it to be understood that at a certain 
point discovery had ceased. His west coast ends at 
thirty-five degrees, the true south-westerly point of 
Australia, and on the east he marks a 'dangerous coast' 
which might be the Great Barrier Reef. He follows the 
Dauphin map in leaving the interior blank and shewing 
an Island of Giants. On the other hand he carries his 
east coast as far south as sixty degrees and, like the 
other cartographers, draws a large island of Java, which 
is only separated from North Australia by a river coming 
out of each end and named Rio Grande. 1 

It is curious that in the very year when Gabriel 
Rebello wrote of the existence of Australia, Mercator 
issued his map containing a fairly accurate outline of 
the north coast; he separates Australia from New 
Guinea 2 by a broad strait, as it should be, and the Gulf 
of Carpentaria appears in something like its right 
place and size. How came the French maps to blunder 
so badly in the delineation of the north coast, placing 
Java where the Gulf should be? Dr. J. A. Williamson, 
who attaches special importance to the Rotz map, sug- 
gests the following explanation. Renegade Portuguese 
pilots, of whom there were several in France, supplied 
the French cartographers with charts both of the north 
coast of Java and Sumbawa and also of Australia, and 
supposing them to represent the same country, the 
Frenchmen combined them. However this may be, our 
belief or disbelief in a Portuguese discovery of Aus- 
tralia (for the French do not claim the honour) based 
on these maps, will depend largely on whether we con- 

1 Prof. Arnold Wood in The Discovery of Australia (Sydney, 1922), re- 
produces Rotz's chart with many others and superimposes a modern outline 
map. a Found and coasted by D. George de Meneses in 1516. 

3 12 / 



BRAZIL AND THE ORIENT 

sider the coastlines shewn on them sufficiently to re- 
semble the actual ones. Dr. Williamson thinks they do, 
at least on the west, while Prof. Wood is of a contrary 
opinion ; but even if we accept the resemblance, there 
are other difficulties to be faced. 

The discovery could only have been made in a series 
of voyages, and various reasons may be adduced against 
their likelihood. In the first place, there is no mention 
of them either in Antonio Galvao or in Rebello, and 
the policy of secrecy does not account for this; the 
Austral continent had already appeared on maps and 
Galvao had mentioned the voyages of Corte Real and 
others. Secondly, as they offered small hope of profit 
and led to nowhere, there was little reason for the 
voyages to be undertaken. And lastly, the Portuguese 
were too occupied in guarding the Moluccas from Spain 
and exploiting their riches, to spare vessels for explora- 
tion for its only sake. It is true that the Island of Gold 
was located in Australian waters and is so marked by 
Vaz Dourado in his atlas, now in the British Museum, 
but it is most improbable that the Portuguese would 
have gone as far as sixty degrees south in search of it. 
It is quite likely that they accidentally saw the west 
coast of Australia on the way to the Moluccas, and they 
may have seen the north when trading to Timor and 
New Guinea, but this is the most that can safely be said 
in the present state of our knowledge. 

When he published his work on Henry the Navi- 
gator, Major announced the discovery of Australia in 
1 60 1 by Manuel Godinho de Heredia, on the strength 
of a map in the British Museum which he reproduced, 
and of a passage in the treatise Ihformafao da Aurea 
Chersoneso referring to the Island of Gold, 1 but he sub- 

1 Printed with the Ordenagoes da India (Lisbon, 1807), vide p. 148. 

313 



THE PORTUGUESE PIONEERS 

sequently withdrew the claim and it is generally dis- 
credited. 1 Further research in the public and private 
archives of Portugal may result in documentary evidence 
on the subject we have been discussing. Since Father 
G. Schiirhammer has lately discovered hundreds of 
documents, previously unknown, dealing with Cingalese 
history in the Torre do Tombo, it is too early to give 
up hope, and there are still a large number of others in 
the possession of the old Portuguese families which have 
not been examined. 

1 Sousa Viterbo, Trabalhos Nauticos, vol. i, p. 153, prints documents about 
Heredia, who was not without merit, though over-confident of his powers. 



CHAPTER XIV 

NAVIGATION, CARTOGRAPHY, SHIPS AND 
SEAMEN 

TTN early times the ocean inspired a great fear in 
Jj[ mariners, not only because of the dangers inherent to 
it, but because they were unable to fix with certainty the 
position of a ship on the surface of the globe, and there- 
fore, speaking generally, they did not dare to go out of 
sight of land, save in the Mediterranean. Their suc- 
cessors guided themselves by the Pole Star and from the 
twelfth century used the water compass, which origin- 
ated in China, 1 and from the thirteenth the box com- 
pass and cross-staff, and then the astrolabe and quadrant, 
which were perfected by the Arabs, who surpassed the 
Westerns in the knowledge of nautical astronomy and 
crossed the Indian Ocean before the Portuguese began 
their voyages. During the Crusades the methods and 
instruments used by the Arabs became known in Europe, 
thanks to the Peninsular Jews, who were the inter- 
mediaries between the two. The development of nautical 
science was assisted by the vogue of astrology, and the 
Moors and Jews of Spain and Portugal, owing to their 
mathematical attainments, were its principal exponents, 
while in astronomy they produced a large number of 
works from the twelfth century onwards. 2 

1 Until less than a century before the Portuguese reached the East, Chinese 
junks regularly visited the shores of Southern Asia. 

a These are set out by Dr. Joaquim Bensaude in V Astronomic Nautique 

3*5 



THE PORTUGUESE PIONEERS 

Neither John I nor his son Duarte seem to have be- 
lieved in sidereal influences, which in the early fifteenth 
century is remarkable, but the latter's doctor, Master 
Guedalha, was astrologer royal, and he doubtless drew 
up the horoscope of Prince Henry which Zurara gives 
us in the Chronicle of Guinea. King Duarte devotes 
chapters 100 and 101 of his Loyal Counsellor to the cal- 
culation of the hour by the Guards in Ursa Minor, 
and it was by the Pole Star and the compass that the 
Portuguese, with Genoese pilots, reached the Canaries 
and later, with their own, reconnoitred Madeira and 
rediscovered the Azores. The astronomical studies of 
Henry the Navigator are referred to by Zurara, Cada- 
mosto and Pedro Nunes, but the first recorded observa- 
tion of latitude by the Portuguese is that made after his 
death by Diogo Gomes with a quadrant in 1462. In 145 1 
the fleet, which carried the Empress Leonor, wife of 
Frederick III, from Lisbon to Pisa, was directed, not 
only by skilful captains and pilots, but also by 'masters 
in astrology learned in the routes by the stars and pole'. 1 

It was relatively easy to deduce the latitude from the 
height of the Pole Star, but as the mariners drew near 
to the equator, it gradually descended towards the 
horizon and disappeared before they crossed the line, 
so that a new guide became necessary; and when Cada- 
mostq observed this phenomenon in 1456 at the river 
Gambia and examined the constellations near the South 
Pole, he probably acted on the instructions of the Prince. 
The problem was solved by John IFs so-called Junta 
of astronomers and mathematicians, who suggested the 
method of calculating latitudes by the height of the sun 

au Portugal d Ffyoque des grandes d&ouvertes (Berne, 1912), which, with 
works of Dr. Luciano Pereira da Silva, Dr. Jaime Cortezao and J. DenucS, 
has been followed in this chapter. 
1 Caetano de Sousa, Historia Genealogica da Casa Real, Provas, vol. i, p. 615. 

316 



NAVIGATION, CARTOGRAPHY, SHIPS AND SEAMEN 

at midday and prepared tables of declination for the use 
of the mariners. They did not invent this method, but 
merely applied it to the southern hemisphere, and to 
judge from a passage in Barros, Vasco da Gama found 
it already in use by Indian pilots. 1 Master Joseph was 
sent to Guinea in 1485 to test it, according to 
Columbus, who doubtless learnt it when voyaging with 
the Portuguese. 

Humboldt thought, and it was generally believed 
until lately, that the Portuguese tables were derived from 
the Efhemerides of Regiomontanus published in 1474 
and calculated for the years 1475 to I 5^> an< ^ ^at ^7 
had been introduced into Portugal by Behaim. How- 
ever, Snr. Joaquim Bensaude has pointed out that the 
early editions of the Ephemerides do not contain tables 
of the sun's declination. They shew the daily position of 
the sun in the Zodiac, but do not indicate its distance 
from the pole, which is an indispensable element for 
calculating latitude. It is true that another work of 
Regiomontanus, the Tabula directionum, gives the dis- 
tance of the sun from the pole, but not for every day, so 
that sailors would have needed to possess both books 
and to know how to use them. There was, however, a 
Peninsular work containing tables of declination, the 
Almanack ferpetuum, composed in Hebrew between 
1473 an d J 478 by the Jew Abraham Zacuto, professor 
of astronomy at Salamanca, who in 1492 went to Portu- 
gal and became astronomer royal, but, though trans- 
lated into Latin by Master Joseph, it was only suitable 
for the learned. Sailors needed a practical manual, and 
this was compiled from the Almanack^ probably by the 
translator, with the title Regimento do Astrolabio e do 
Quadrants, and he joined to it a Portuguese version of 

1 Asia, dec. I, bk. iv, cap. 6. 

317 



THE PORTUGUESE PIONEERS 

the Tratado da Sphera by the thirteenth-century friar John 
Holywood or Sacrobosco, a rudimentary work on astro- 
nomy, or rather cosmography, generally used in the 
universities throughout the Middle Ages. There is a 
convincing proof that the Portuguese tables are not 
derived from Regiomontanus ; the value adopted for the 
inclination of the ecliptic in them is 23 33', while in 
the German astronomer it is 23 30'. 

In the beginning it is probable that only manuscript 
copies of the Regiment were circulated for the use of 
pilots, but the book must have been printed before 
the end of the fifteenth century, though no such early 
edition has survived. The first part contains instruc- 
tions for calculating latitudes with examples, the Regi- 
ment of the Pole Star^ that is, the way to find the latitude 
by measuring the height of the star above the horizon, 
a list of sixty latitudes on the west coast of Africa to 
the equator, rules for placing tracks on a chart and 
tables of declination. It was, as Dr. Bensaude says, less 
important to secure exact calculations than to teach 
mariners how to find their approximate position as 
regards the equator, and this desideratum was fulfilled 
by the Regimento do AstrolaUo e do Quadrante. In sub- 
sequent editions the text is less rudimentary, the tables 
are fuller, the list of latitudes embraces a wider area, and 
new parts are added, such as rules for the tides and for 
determining the hour of the night by the Pole Star and 
Guards. The book was still in use in 1537, for Pedro 
Nunes points out a mistake found in the two earliest 
editions known and corrects it; the German printer in 
Lisbon, Valentim Fernandes, had previously repro- 
duced it in his Repertorio dos Tempos in I5I8, 1 adding 

1 This edition is described by King Manoel of Portugal in his Early 
Printed Portuguese Booh, vol. i. 

318 



NAVIGATION, CARTOGRAPHY, SHIPS AND SEAMEN 

new nautical tables extracted from the Almanach of 
Zacuto by Master Caspar Nicolas, and editions con- 
tinued to be printed until 1574. 

The Regimento do Astrolabio e do Quadrante was the 
herald of a series of important works, which include 
the Esmeraldo of Duarte Pacheco, the treatises in the 
Livro da Marinharia of the pilot John de Lisboa, the 
Tratado del Esphera of Francisco Faleiro, a Portuguese 
pilot in the Spanish service, the Tratado da Sphera and 
the Tratado em defensam da Carta de Marear of Pedro 
Nunes, and the three Rutters of D. John de Castro. 
Duarte Pacheco was no less eminent as a scientist than 
as a soldier; he appears as a convinced apostle of experi- 
mental methods in Esmeraldo^ saying that 'experience 
is the mother of things and it is she who leads us 
definitely to the truth'. He states the principle of 
gravitation * and makes the most correct measurement 
of a degree, to which he gives eighteen leagues, an 
error of only four per cent., as Dr. Cortezao remarks. 2 

The Junta of John II also devoted its attention to the 
improvement of nautical instruments. Cadamosto and 
Diogo Gomes used the quadrant in their voyages, and 
in 1481 Diogo do Azambuja had an astrolabe and 
possibly applied it to the new method. The Junta 
simplified the instrument by leaving out the parts not 
absolutely needed and produced a plain astrolabe of 
wood and iron. 8 One of these, used by Vasco da Gama 
at St. Helena Bay, to get more accurate results than the 
motion of the ship allowed, was of wood and very large, 

1 Esmeraldo^ bk. i, cap. i. 

2 In counting eighteen leagues to a degree he was more correct than 
Pedro Nunes, whose figure is seventeen and a half, the traditional one. 

* Pictures of the old nautical instruments with a description of each will 
be found in Ravenstein*s Martin Behalm, pp. 15-17, and more fully in an 
article by Snr. Antonio Barbosa in the Institute, vol. kxiv, p. 470. 

319 



THE PORTUGUESE PIONEERS 



about sixty centimetres in diameter, its size ensuring 
greater accuracy. Caspar Correa describes one fabric- 
ated by Zacuto as follows: 'He made a disc of copper, 
circular and as thick as Haifa finger, suspended by a ring, 
on this disc he drew lines and points and in the middle 
put another disc, also of copper, turning round, in which 
openings were pierced, the one opposite the other, so 
that when the rays of the sun entered by the two open- 
ings at midday, the height of the sun was obtained*. 

King Manoel consulted Zacuto about the voyage 
of da Gama, and in a long discourse to the monarch the 
astronomer explained his theory of storms, the most 
favourable time for navigation, the tables of declination 
he had composed and the Regiment, so that by the 
observation of the sun at midday and the North Star at 
night, mariners would know how far they had gone and 
could sail every sea. He taught some pilots sent by the 
King how and in what way they must take the height 
of the sun with the astrolabe, and how they were to 
make calculations by the tables of the Regiment, and he 
also supplied them with charts. 1 

Again the pilot, Master John, who was responsible 
for astronomical observations in Cabral's expedition, 
wrote from Brazil on I May 1 500 to King Manoel the 
following: ' Yesterday, Monday the 2 7th April, I, the 
Captain-general's pilot and the pilot of Sancho de Tovar 
went on shore. We found that the height of the sun at 
midday was 56, and the shadow northern. 2 According 
to the rules of the astrolabe, we judged that we were 
distant 17 from the Equator and therefore had the 
height of the South Pole at 1 7, as is clear from the 
Sphere. 9 We see here, remarks Dr. Bensaude, not only 
an allusion to the Regiment, but an indication of the 

1 Lendas da India, vol. i, p. 261 (ed.i 922). a Evidently a mistake for 'southern*. 

320 



NAVIGATION, CARTOGRAPHY, SHIPS AND SEAMEN 

elements which served to calculate the latitude. The 
sphere referred to is clearly the Tratado da Sphera. 
From these and other pieces of evidence, we may accept 
the statement of Pedro Nunes when he writes: 'It is 
clear that the discoveries of islands and continents have 
not been made by chance; on the contrary, when our 
mariners started they were supplied with the best in- 
formation, and provided with instruments and rules of 
astrology and geometry*. 1 

At the time of Cabral's expedition, astronomical 
observations were still rather the exception, to judge 
from another passage in Master John's letter, where, 
after saying that the other pilots disagreed with his 
reckoning, he adds: 'We cannot determine who tells 
the truth, until we reach the Cape of Good Hope. 
There we shall know who navigates best, they with the 
chart, or I with the chart and astrolabe/ Even Master 
John had some doubt of the value of observations made 
at sea, for he continues: 'It seems to me almost im- 
possible to take the height of any star at sea, for I labour 
much at it and however little the ship rolls, there are 
mistakes of 4 or 5 degrees, so that it can only be done 
on shore'. His conclusion is that 'at sea it is better to 
be guided by the height of the sun than by the stars, 
and it is better to use the astrolabe than the quadrant, 
or any other instruments'. 

When Cadamosto made the observations already 
referred to, he saw six large and bright stars which he 
identified with the Southern Cross, 2 but the principal 
star was not visible, nor could it be until the Pole Star 
had been lost to sight. Master John in his letter to 

1 'Tratado em defensara da Carta de Marear,' printed in Revista de Enge- 
nharia Military 1911, p. 241, cited by Dr. J. Bensaude. 

2 His words are il cam deW ostro, but the drawing he gives points to the 
Southern Cross. The identity of these stars has been much discussed. 

321 21 



THE PORTUGUESE PIONEERS 

King Manoel sent a drawing of the constellations he 
had seen, among which was the Southern Cross, and 
it is described under this name by John de Lisboa in 
the Tratado da agulha de marear. This notable pilot 
studied it in the East in 1 505 with a view to using it for 
the determination of latitudes, the hour at night and 
the variation of the needle, and formulated the Regiment 
of the Southern Cross. 

When the Portuguese navigators began to use the 
astrolabe and quadrant to determine latitudes, they 
marked these on the sailing chart, and as the African 
coast continued to stretch out in front of them, they 
added a graduated meridian to the network of rhumbs, 
naturally that of Cape St. Vincent, which was con- 
sidered the same as Lisbon and called by D. John de 
Castro the meridian of operations, or working meridian. 
In referring to a map from the atlas of Willem Barents- 
zoon (Amsterdam, 1595) which shews the coasts 
adjoining the Strait of Gibraltar, with a graduated 
meridian passing by the same Cape, Nordenskiold says : 
'I think this chart is based on Portuguese maps and 
that we have here a reminiscence of the introduction 
by Prince Henry's sailors of the method of determining 
the position of a ship by means of observations of lati- 
tudes', 1 Dr. Cortezao claims with reason that Portu- 
guese nautical science was the basis of the development 
of cartography, and observes that just before the voyage 
of Magellan we find the graduation of longitudes marked 
on Portuguese maps with such an approach to accuracy 
that the Moluccas were drawn in almost their right 
position, 2 while the maps of Cantino, Reinel and Diogo 

1 U expansion des Portugal, p. 54. 

* Dr. J. CortezSo. op. cit. p. 54. The word longitudes seems to be a mistake 
for latitudes. 

322 



NAVIGATION, CARTOGRAPHY, SHIPS AND SEAMEN 

Ribeiro give for the first time an idea of the geo- 
graphical contours of the globe. 

In a report to the Senate in 1506, the Venetian 
ambassador, Quirini, seeks to shew how the Portuguese 
found their way to India: l 'The astrolabe tells them 
when they reach the line; after passing it, they sail south 
for some 2 1 oo miles, until they learn by the astrolabe 
that they are 35 degrees distant from the line to the 
other pole and so they know that they are in the latitude 
of the Cape of Good Hope. In this long voyage they 
navigate always with the chart and compass and use 
the loadstone, and though they lose sight of our pole, 
they do not cease to use the compass, because the load- 
stone, wherever it is put and however far off, points to 
the North and moves towards the other pole, and in this 
way they know the winds as though they did not lose 
sight of this pole. 

'They also use the astrolabe, by which they know 
the height of the sun and so, when it is at midday, they 
see how many degrees they are distant from the line and 
therefore know how near or far they are from the places 
they ought to avoid, or the ports they should seek/ 

The problem of the determination of longitudes, 
called by the Portuguese 'the height of East-West', did 
not trouble them while they were sailing down the 
west coast of Africa, but when Columbus, following 
the plan of Toscanelli, endeavoured to reach Asia by 
the West, he made attempts at the astronomical measure 
of longitudes by the ancient method of lunar eclipses, 
one in 1494 the other in 1504, using the Almanack 
ferpetuum of Zacuto. The results, however, were very 
inaccurate. The fixing of longitudes was studied by 
John de Lisboa, Francisco Faleiro and his brother Ruy 

1 Biker, CollecgSo dot Tratados, vol. xiv. p. 78. 

3 2 3 



THE PORTUGUESE PIONEERS 

Faleiro, but without result, because they connected it 
with the variation of the needle. D. John de Castro 
proved that they were wrong by experiments made in 
1538 on his way from Brazil to the Cape, when crossing 
the meridian of St. Vincent, and again on the voyage 
from Goa to Diu in 1539. He also found that deviation 
was due to masses of iron on board and to the action 
of certain rocks. When the Portuguese reached the 
Moluccas, the problem of longitude became more 
important, because it was necessary to find out whether 
the islands lay in the Portuguese or Spanish sphere; 
and, as we have seen, Magellan endeavoured to solve 
the difficulty and on his voyage of circumnavigation 
he took with him a treatise on the subject by his com- 
patriot Ruy Faleiro. It was not until the chronometer 
was perfected in the eighteenth century that the problem 
found a practical solution. 

When the Portuguese ships sailed south of the line, 
longitudes were counted at the equator like latitudes, 
but experience shewed that the network of straight lines 
did not correspond to the graduation of the geographical 
co-ordinates, and Pedro Nunes began to enquire into 
the cause of the errors which were generally complained 
of. When studying the nature of the curve described 
by a ship when it follows a fixed course and cuts suc- 
cessive meridians at the same angle, a curve afterwards 
known as a loxodrome, he saw that it was not an arc of 
a great circle, but a spiral, a twisted or doubly curved 
line, which was plane in only two cases, when the rhumb 
followed was north-south, in which case it was a great 
circle or meridian, and when the rhumb was east-west, 
where it was a small circle or parallel. 

Nunes was the first to study the nature of the loxo- 
dromic curve in the two treatises which accompany that 



NAVIGATION, CARTOGRAPHY, SHIPS AND SEAMEN 

of the sphere, entitled Tratado sobre certas duvidas da 
navegafao and Tratado em defensam da Carta de Marear 
(1537), and he treats the subject more fully in the Latin 
version of these treatises, which is included in the edition 
of some of his works printed at Basel in 1566. He paved 
the way for the cylindrical projection which appeared 
in the map of Mercator. Though he does not indicate 
the practical process for tracing the loxodromic curve 
on a globe, he proclaims the need for such tracing to 
be accurately done and calls attention to this matter 
when he complains of the makers of globes, saying 
that 'because they do not know how to put in rhumb- 
lines, they do not realise it, and so the globes are worth- 
less, although they have much gold and many flags, 
elephants and camels on them*. John de Lisboa had 
already pointed out the errors in charts and Ruy Faleiro 
had dealt with the same question, but Nunes was the 
first to give it full attention; he says that he was led to 
make his studies by the difficulties about navigation 
described to him by Martim Afonso de Sousa, when 
he returned from his voyage to Brazil in 1 533. The work 
of Nunes was carried on by D. John de Castro, and the 
one completed the other. The first, a talented theorist 
and mathematician, sought to resolve the problem of 
cartography and give it a solid basis, while the second, 
at once a theorist and practical man of wide knowledge, 
studied Nature in the scientific spirit, as his three 
Rutters shew. 

Nordenskiold considered that as navigator, hydro-gra- 
pher and observer de Castro remained unequalled until 
the time of Barentz, Linschoten, Hudson and Davis. 1 

It had been impossible to determine latitudes by the 
height of the sun when it was covered with clouds, but 

1 Cited by Dr. Jaime Cortezao, op. cit. p. 53. 

325 



THE PORTUGUESE PIONEERS 

Nunes Invented a means of solving the difficulty, and 
this was tested by D. John de Castro, but did not prove 
satisfactory, Nunes also invented an instrument attached 
to the quadrant to facilitate the reading of angles which 
was called the Nonius after him, but, though ingenious, 
it proved cumbersome and was superseded by the vernier, 
which is still in use. In the sixteenth century the astrolabe 
began to be used side by side with the cross-staff; when 
the sun was near the zenith, D. John de Castro found 
it difficult to take the height by the former and recom- 
mended the use of the latter to ascertain the height of 
the Pole Star and of the Southern Cross, while Pedro 
Nunes advised that the cross-staff should be employed 
to measure distances between the constellations. 

In The Lusiads Camoens celebrates the nautical 
knowledge of his countrymen and shews a surprising 
accuracy in his numerous references to astronomy, while 
Sousa Viterbo in his Trabalhos nauticos dos Portugueses 
mentions over 400 individuals, including 8 3 astronomers 
and cosmographers, 55 cartographers and makers of 
nautical instruments, 133 pilots and 22 pilot-dis- 
coverers. 1 The royal family had set an example of 
interest in astronomical science from the time of John I. 
Pedro Nunes writes of Henry the Navigator in his 
De Crepusculis that he found great pleasure in it, 'not 
in those naive superstitions, almost extirpated now, 
which deal with miracles and celestial signs in con- 
nection with life and destiny, but in the courses of the 
stars and the study of the plan of the heavens', and 
D. John de Castro says that the house of the Infant 
Luiz was the place where cosmography flourished 
more than anywhere. When speaking of the expedition 
to Tunis in which he accompanied the Infant, he re- 

1 The figures are given on the authority of Dr. Bensaude. 

326 



NAVIGATION, CARTOGRAPHY, SHIPS AND SEAMEN 

marks that the subject was continually discussed 
between them and that the spoil which his master 
selected to bring home consisted of some old Arab 
astrolabes. It was their nautical knowledge that enabled 
the Portuguese to fix the routes of transatlantic naviga- 
tion ; by the middle of the fifteenth century they took 
a course through the ocean in going to and returning 
from the west coast of Africa, and before 1484 were 
accustomed to make a large detour by the Azores on 
their way home from the Guinea coast, which shews 
that they were acquainted with the prevailing winds. 

The cartographical knowledge of the Portuguese 
must also have been extensive, 1 though the old historians 
make only a few references to it, while documents are 
almost entirely lacking. We may assume that Henry 
saw copies of the principal types of medieval maps and 
portolans, such as those of Marino Sanuto (c. 1320), 
Angelino Dulcert (1339), shewing the Canaries with a 
near approach to accuracy, the Laurentian map of Africa 
(1351) in which the continent appears with a Guinea 
coast of exaggerated length and a short leg, and the 
Catalan atlas (1375). We are told that Master Jacome 
taught his pupils to make maps, but none of them have 
survived, and the charts entered up by Diogo Cao, 
Bartholomew Dias and Vasco da Gama on their voyages, 
together with the maps supplied to the last and to Pero 
da Covilhan, have also disappeared; most of them were 
probably destroyed, while others perished in the earth- 
quake of I755- 2 

1 The first pilots probably would not have known how to read a chart, 
had they possessed one; they recognised the land to which they were bound 
by a promontory, a group of trees or huts, etc. It was by some palms that 
they knew they had reached the Senegal. 

2 But in the sale of the Castelmelhor Library in 1878 one lot alone included 
103 Rutters of the Indian seas by different pilots in the seventeenth century. 

3*7 



THE PORTUGUESE PIONEERS 

It will be remembered that in relating the number 
of caravels sent out down to 1446 Zurara says: 'They 
went 450 leagues beyond Cape Bojador, and all that 
coast was found to run southward with many points, 
which our Prince caused to be added to the sailing 
chart*. We have also quoted his statement that all 
shewn up to that time on the Mappa Mundi had been 
designed at hazard, while what was then put on the 
charts came from actual observation. This may be 
properly regarded as the work of the 'School of Sagres', 
which is also summed up in the declaration of Afonso V 
that until Henry's time no one knew anything of the 
lands beyond Cape Bojador, nor were they marked in the 
sailing charts and Mappa Mundi, save as men pleased. 1 
But though the cartographical work done under Henry's 
auspices has disappeared, the discoveries of his seamen 
are registered on foreign maps, of which the most 
important are the following: (i) the Valsecca map 
(1434-49), which -has an inscription recording the dis- 
covery, or rediscovery, of the Azores ; (2) the Andrea 
Bianco map of 1448, which marks the African coast 
down to Cape Roxo south of Cape Verde; (3) Fra 
Mauro's planisphere (1457-59), which shews some 
knowledge of the discoveries of Cadamosto ; and (4) 
the atlas of Benincasa (1471), which marks those of 
Pedro de Sintra. 2 

Fra Mauro is thought to have received help from 
Cadamosto in his work and he expressly states that he 
used many Portuguese charts he possessed. These must 
have been supplied by Henry's orders, for the map 
was executed at the expense of Afonso V and a copy 

1 Alguns DocumentoSy p. 8. 

2 Nordenskiold thinks that Bianco's map of 1448 and Benincasa's of 1467 
are copies of copies of a Portuguese original. 

328 



NAVIGATION, CARTOGRAPHY, SHIPS AND SEAMEN 

of it sent to Portugal shortly before the Prince's death. 
Nevertheless, the delineation of the west coast of Africa 
is unsatisfactory and the latest discoveries are not re- 
corded. We learn from a letter of the Doge Foscarini 
that, when he considered the success which had 
attended Cadamosto's voyages and saw the plan and 
beginning of the map, he trusted that Henry would 
find in them new inducements to continue his explora- 
tions. Later on, the results of the voyages of Cao and 
Dias were recorded on the maps of Seligo and Henry 
Martellus and on Behaim's globe, and the achievement 
of Vasco da Gama on the Hamy anonymous Portuguese 
map of 1502 and on those of Canerio and Cantino. 
Canerio worked from Portuguese originals, while 
Cantino's is the first Portuguese map which has come 
down to us, but it was followed by those of the Reinels, 
of Diogo Ribeiro and many others. 

A cartographical service must have existed before the 
end of the fifteenth century at the Mina and India 
House, though the first notice of it we possess only 
dates from 1504, when George de Vasconcellos was 
director of the royal dep&t of sea charts. On 13 Novem- 
ber of that year King Manoel issued a decree for- 
bidding in future the insertion of any indications for 
sailing beyond the islands of St. Thomas and Prince, 
and, a few days later, another decree fixed the limit at 
the river Congo. This restriction was intended to pre- 
vent foreigners from profiting by the Portuguese dis- 
coveries. The maps which infringed this rule were to 
be deposited with Vasconcellos and he was to efface 
the routes beyond the points permitted, and the same 
measure was applied to the list of latitudes. On 18 June 
1514 Master Diogo was ordered to make a globe on 
the model sent him by Vasconcellos, and this and the 

3*9 



THE PORTUGUESE PIONEERS 

preceding document indicate that a cartographical 
bureau existed and that maps were made as well as 
kept there. In 1531 Pedro Nunes, then chief carto- 
grapher, was charged with the duty of inspecting sea 
maps, astrolabes and compasses. Apart from the official 
cartographical service, there were private map-makers 
who grew in numbers as the century went on, and some 
of them became famous by the scientific value and 
artistic beauty of their work, culminating in the atlases 
of Lazaro Luiz and Vaz Dourado, which are preserved 
at the Lisbon Academy of Sciences, the British Museum, 
and the Torre do Tombo. Pedro and George Reinel 
emigrated to Seville and supplied Magellan with a map 
in which the route to the Moluccas was marked, and 
though they returned to Lisbon, their collaboration 
and that of Diogo Ribeiro, also a Portuguese, in the 
scientific equipment of Magellan's expedition was 
bitterly resented and called a disloyal act. The import- 
ance of cartographers and the salaries they earned tended 
to increase, owing to the commissions they received from 
abroad, and in 1552 Lisbon had no less than six offices 
for map-making with eighteen artists. 

Portuguese pilots were honoured at home, while foreign 
rulers competed for their services and even admitted them 
to the orders of Chivalry. John II gave Pero d'Alemquer 
the right of wearing silk and wool and a gold chain, and 
others were made squires and knighted. Many went 
to Spain, England and France, for instance, Magellan, 
John Dias de Solis, Francisco Faleiro, Andr6 Homem, 
Francisco Rodrigues and Antonio Anes Penteado, and 
they divulged the secrets of navigation, so that the 
Portuguese government made every effort to induce 
them to return. Francesco Faleiro wrote the first work 
on navigation published in Spain and in 1527 Stephen 

330 



NAVIGATION, CARTOGRAPHY, SHIPS AND SEAMEN 

Dias guided a French expedition to India; at the end 
of the century Portuguese Rutters and charts enabled 
the Dutch and English to reach the East. Some of these 
pilots were also able to make nautical instruments, 
which increased their value to foreign rulers, and before 
his death in 1568, Bartholomew Velho, who had been 
engaged by the King of France, submitted a long list 
of those he was prepared to construct, including quad- 
rants and astrolabes. 1 Magellan took several Portuguese 
pilots on his great voyage, and among others who 
especially distinguished themselves in the service of 
Spain were Stephen Gomes, John Dias de Solis, dis- 
coverer of the River Plate, or River of Solis, 2 and Pedro 
Fernandes de Queiroz, who in 1 605 sailed in command 
of a fleet from Callao across the Pacific, found Tahiti 
and the New Hebrides, and returned to Mexico, after 
an absence of nearly a twelvemonth. 

The voyages down to and including that of Bartholo- 
mew Dias were made in three types of vessels; Gil 
Eannes doubled Cape Bojador in a barca, probably a 
boat of some twenty-five tons only partly covered in, 
and carrying a crew of fourteen men and one big mast 
with a square sail, and a smaller one, which could be 
rigged up if need arose. In the next expedition, Gil 
Eannes went in his barca and was accompanied by 
Afonso Gon?alves Baldaya in a barinel, and the latter, 
on a subsequent voyage, reached the Rio do Ouro in 
the same craft, which appears to have been larger and 
longer than the barca and, though equipped with sails, 
it could be propelled by oars, like a galley. But the 
shape and sails of the barca made it slow, and the barinel 

i Printed by Sousa Viterbo, Trabalhos nauticos, vol. i, p. 315. 
a This honour is also ascribed to a Portuguese expedition of 1514 in which 
John de Lisboa was one of the pilots. 

331 



THE PORTUGUESE PIONEERS 

needed a large crew. The caravels, first used in 1440, 
to judge from Zurara, were free from these disadvan- 
tages ; they were boats of fifty tons and upwards, measur- 
ing from twenty to thirty metres in length and from 
six to eight metres in breadth, with a castle at the stern 
and three masts, and they had lateen sails stretched on 
long poles suspended from the mast-head, the lower 
points touching the gunwale. These boats ran before 
the wind, but could go near it, to use a nautical term, 
that is, with a side wind, and to alter the course it 
was only necessary to trim the sails. Cadamosto called 
them the best sailing-vessels afloat. When the longer or 
trans-oceanic voyages began, their size was increased 
to 150 or 200 tons and four masts were carried, the 
foremast having round sails, the others lateen, and 
the vessels were then known as caravelas redondas or 
caravelas de armada^ because they formed part of 
the fleet. 

Caravels were unsuitable for the heavy seas which 
Bartholomew Dias met with off the Cape of Good Hope, 
being too frail and low in the water, so that the nau y or 
ship, was employed in the expedition of Vasco da Gama; 
these, with their castles fore and aft and sails painted 
with the Cross of Christ in red, have already been re- 
ferred to. 1 The size of a nau was about 400 tons, but 
some were of 800 to 1000 tons. 2 A galleon is usually, 
but erroneously, considered to have been larger than 
a nau, and the difference between them is still in dis- 
pute. One or other of these types of vessel developed 
into the cumbersome carrack with seven or eight decks, 
capable of carrying up to 2000 persons. 

1 Ravenstein, op. cit. p. 157 et seq. 9 furnishes a detailed description, with 
a reproduction from an old drawing of three of the vessels. 

2 According to the Venetian ambassador Quirini. 

332 



NAVIGATION, CARTOGRAPHY, SHIPS AND SEAMEN 

In the East, in addition to naus, different and smaller 
vessels were used, some with sails, like the catur and 
the galeota^ others with oars, like the foist and the gale> 
while the taforea served to convey horses. 1 

The first vessels whose names we know belong to the 
reign of Dinis and were called Our Lady, Saint Mary 
and God of Portugal^ in the last the idea of patriotism 
is joined to that of religion. The preponderating in- 
fluence of the latter in the baptism of ships must be 
ascribed to the strong faith of the Portuguese people; 
of 1 344 ships belonging to the period from the time of 
Dinis down to the early part of the nineteenth century, 
catalogued by Snr. Quirino da Fonseca, 'only 141 had 
secular names. Among the former a sense of resignation 
to the decrees of Providence inspired the designations 
If God mils and What God Wills \ love of the Blessed 
Sacrament led to the use of that name, and devotion 
to the sufferings of Our Lord was shewn in the terms 
Holy Cross, Wounds and Good Jesus of Mount Calvary, 
The cult of the Blessed Virgin appears in the forty-nine 
various names referring to her and her shrines, e.g. 
Queen of Angels, Holy Queen, Our Lady Mother of God 
and Men and Our Lady of Nazareth^ while Our Lady of 
the Conception testifies to the belief in the doctrine that 
she was preserved from the stain of original sin and 
reminds us that she became the protector of the country 
under this title. Along with her cult went that of the 
saints, and ships, like individuals, were dedicated to 
them; among the blessed in Heaven, men were pre- 
ferred to women as patrons; indeed, of the latter only 
a dozen were chosen, the name of St. Clare being the 
most common. Forty-five male names appear; St. 

1 Vide Braz d'Oliveira, Revista Colonial e Maritima, May 1898, and 
Nogueira de Brito, Caravelas, naus e gaits, Oporto, 1933. 

333 



THE PORTUGUESE PIONEERS 

Anthony was connected with forty-six different vessels, 
St. John with twenty-six, St. James with twenty-five, 
St. Peter with sixteen and St. Vincent, though he was 
the patron saint of Lisbon, with only four. 1 

We have no record of the food supplied to the 
Henrician sailors, but its chief element was doubtless 
the ship's biscuit, the classical fare at sea. The first men- 
tion of royal ovens for baking biscuits dates only from 
the reign of Afonso V, and in the time of King Manoel 
those in the Valle de Zebro were able to supply in 
three years 17,847 quintals, or about 1070 tons, that is, 
more than a million daily rations, which shews the 
great size of the Portuguese marine. Even these ovens, 
however, were not sufficient to meet the calls on them, 
for six others were built in Lisbon, near the Porta da 
Cruz, and it was sometimes necessary to obtain supplies 
of biscuits from private bakehouses and even from 
Spain. On the voyages to Mina and Morocco at the 
end of the fifteenth century, the daily ration of biscuit 
was usually 2 Ib. per man, which is about double that 
given in the Portuguese Navy to-day; in 1497 the daily 
allowance of food and drink for the crews of Vasco da 
Gama was i J Ib. of biscuit, I Ib. of beef or J Ib, of pork, 
2j pints of water, ij pints of wine, with oil and vinegar, 
and on Fast days rice, fish or cheese took the place of 
meat. Naturally wine was not stinted in a country which 
produced and exported it, though the Portuguese did 
not need the stimulus of alcohol to give them courage. 
Fernando Oliveira, who had fought with the French, 
declares that he often heard them say that a man 
could not be brave without it, an opinion evidently not 
shared by King Alfonso the Wise, since he counselled 

1 Boletim da Academia das Ciencias de Lisboa, February 1931, art. 
'Nomes proprios de navios Portugueses*. 

3.U 



NAVIGATION, CARTOGRAPHY, SHIPS AND SEAMEN 

Castilian sailors to abstain from its use altogether 
in war. 

Wine, like water, was carried in pipes or barrels 
(toneis\ and the capacity of a vessel was estimated by 
the number of these it could hold. Magellan's fleet was 
particularly well supplied with wine; the five vessels 
contained 415^ pipes, so that each man of the total 
complement of 265 was provided with 1260 litres. 

No information has come down to us as to the pay 
of the seamen before the first voyage of da Gama, On 
this occasion, according to Caspar Correa, they re- 
ceived five cruzados a month, to which the Captain- 
major added two in the case of those who knew the 
business of a carpenter, caulker, blacksmith and turner. 
The King gave married men one hundred cruzados to 
leave with their wives and forty to single men. 

In CabraTs voyage, according to the same writer, the 
sailors drew ten cruzados a month and the right to bring 
home ten quintals of pepper, and, if married, they were 
given a year's pay in advance, and if single, six months', 1 

1 Ibid. June 1931. 



335 



INDEX 



Abraham, Rabbi, of Beja, 219, 221 

Abreu, Antonio de, 304 

Abyssinia, 33; entered by Covilhan, 
221; mission to, 220 

Adahu, 64 sqq. 

Adam, William, 30, 215 

Aden, 218-19, 298 

Admedi, 134 

Adrian VI, Pope, 242 

Afonso III, King, fleet of, 3 

Afonso IV, King, 5, 9, 10 

Afonso V, King, 41, 51, 54, 168- 
169; grants privileges to ship- 
builders, 12} receives from Pope 
concessions in Africa, 47; ac- 
cession of, 62 j grants trading 
rights to Cape Verde islands, 144; 
conquers Alcacer - Seguer, 1525 
suggested retrocession of Ceuta, 
162-35 discoveries in reign of, 
1 68; enterprises of, 173; declares 
war against England, 175; as- 
sumes new titles, 177, 190; farms 
out Guinea trade, 184; hands over 
direction of overseas possessions 
to son John, 188; marries his niece 
Joanna, 190; character of, 191; 
defeated by Castilians, 191; jour- 
neys to France and meets Louis 
XIj visits Charles the Bold, 191; 
attempts to abdicate, 1925 death 
of, 193; orders destruction of 
foreign crews, 196 

Afonso V, King of Aragon, 215 

Afonso X of Castile, 8 

Afonso Africano, 177 

Afonso, Diogp, discovers some of 
Cape Verde islands, 143; visits Rio 
do Ouro, 73, 76 

Afonso, Stephen, 84 

Afonso Henriques, King, 3 

Africa, cartography of, 32; coastal 
charts of West, 90; da Gama 



reaches East, 256; delineation of 
West coast of, 329; Bias' voyage 
round South, 222; European know- 
ledge of, 33} Laurentian map of, 
327; people of North- West, 77} 
skirting of west of, 185; trading in 
North-West, 102 sqq. 

Agadir, 178-79 

AJarves, 167 

Albafur, 134 

Albergaria, Lopo Scares de, 307 

Albuera, battle of, 192 

Albuquerque, Afonso de, leads 
expedition to the East, 294} con- 
quest of Ormuz, Goa and Malacca, 
298; drives Mohammedans from 
Indian Ocean, 299} administra- 
tive measures of, 299-300; financial 
difficulties of, 301; reasons for 
military successes of, 302} person- 
ality of, 302-3} sends expedition 
to Moluccas, 304 

Albuquerque, Francisco de, 294 

Alcacer-Seguer, 59, 138, 173, 186} 
conquest of, 152} abandoned by 
Portuguese, 179 

Alcacova, Pero de, 174 

Alcacovas, Treaty of, 48, 166, 192 

Alcochete, 258 

Alcuzet, 136 

Aldea das Duas Partes, 202 

Alegrete, siege of, 200 

Alemquer, Pero de, 201, 222, 249, 

330 

Alexander VI, Pope, line of de- 
marcation, 239-41 

Alexandria, 218 

Alexis, river, 273 

Alfarrobeira, battle of, 62, 162 

Algarve, 28, 168, 176} battle off the, 
I 95> seizure of French vessels, in 
ports of, 249 

Algoa Bay, 224 

337 22 



THE PORTUGUESE PIONEERS 



Aljazira, 148 

Almeida, Fernando Lopes de, 66 
Almeida, Fortunato de, 9, 140, 168 
Almeida, Francisco de, Viceroy of 

India, 237, 296, 299 
Alvares, Father Francis, 220 
Alves, John, 210, 222 
America, discovery of, 235 
Anafe", 174 
Andalusia, 177 
Andrade, Anselmo de, visits Thibet, 

310 

Andrade, Fernao Peres de, 307 sqq. 
Angra de Sintra, 73 
Angra do Salto (Port Alexander), 

223 

Angra dos Cayallos, 58 
Angra dos Ruivos, 56 
Angra Pequena, 223 
Anjediva, islands, 265, 292, 296 
Antilia, fabulous island of, 227, 237 
Antilles, islands, 227, 231, 232 
Antwerp spice factory, 297 
Arabs, nautical knowledge of, 315 
Arctic expedition in 1472, 186 
Arfet, Ana de, 35 

Arguim, captured by the Dutch, 
69} factory at, 167$ fort at, 167, 
199; Gulf of, ipo, 123, 139* 
natives of, 73; raids on, 76, 78$ 
visited by Cadamosto, 101; by 
Nuno TristSo, 685 slave raids at, 
1015 trade at, 101, 105$ trade 
granted to Prince John, 185 
Arraiolos, Count of, 59 
Arras, 192 

Arzila, 59, 105; capture of, 176$ 
abandoned by Portuguese, 179; 
described by Goes, 17$-, expedi- 
tion to, 174 sqq, 

Astrology and nautical science, 315 
Astronomers, John II's Junta of, 

316, 319 
Astronomical tables of declination, 



317 sqq. 
, Jua: 



Atabe, Juan Iniguez de, 43 
Ataide, Alvaro Gongalves de, 80 
Ataide, Martinho de, 47 
Atlantic, royal grants of islands in, 

228-9, 230 
Australia, claims to discovery of, 

310 sqq. 

Aveiro, John Afonso de, 200, 212 
Aviz, Master of, 12 



Axem, 185 

Azambuja, Diogo de, 179, 319; 

ordered to build Mina fort, 200; 

negotiates with Casa - Mansa, 

202-3; death of, 205 
Azamor, 179 
Azenegues, 74, 77, ior, no sqq.; 

customs of, 102; trade of, 105, 

167 
Azevedo, Alvaro Rodrigues de, 36, 

40 

Azevedo, J. L. de, 41 
Azevedo, Pedro de, 19, 49 
Azores, Goncalo Velho CabraTs 

expedition to, 50; discovery of, 

31, 48-9; colonisation of, 51; 

Diogo Gomes at, 142; on old 

maps, 48; reputed expedition to, 

8; sugar industry in, 41 

Badajos, Congress at, 2105 Treaty 

of, 305 
Bagdad, 219 
Bahia das Gamas (Hamilton's Inlet), 

Bahia dos Vaqueiros (Mossel Bay), 

224. See Mossel Bay 
Baldaya, Afonso Goncalves, 3315 

explores West Africa, 56 sqq. 
Ballard, Admiral, 303 
Banda, 304 

Barbacini, river, 116, 140; tribe, 115 
Barbary, 100, 171; raids on coast of, 

Barbosa, Antonio, 319 

Barcas, 331 

Barcellos, Pedro de, 270 

Barcellos, Senna, 143, 145 

Barcelona, 218 

Barentszoon, Willem, 322 

Barentz, 325 

Barghah, 101 

Barinel, 331 

Barros, Gama, 41 

Barros, Joao de, narratives of, 27, 
3i> 36, 5 6 > 73> 168, 185, 210-ir, 
213, 217, 221, 234, 268, 307; on 
discovery of Madeira and Porto 
Santo, 38, of Cape Verde islands, 
144; on voyage round S. Africa, 
222, 225 

Basel, Council of, 43 

Basset, R6n6, 202 

Batti-Mansa, 125, 128, 136 



338 



INDEX 



Baya, Nuno Fernandas de, 131 

Bayonne, 13 

Beatrice, Infanta, 144, 229 

Beccari, Father, 221 

Behaim, Martin, 231-25 records of, 

131, 189, 231; globe of, 207, 211, 

232; astrolabe of, 217 
Beja, Fernando, Duke of, 153 
Belem, 157, 294 
Belle Isle, Strait of, 274 
Bemoi, chieftain of Guinea, 211-12 
Benin, factory founded at, 212; 

kings of, 213 

Benincasa, maps of, 130, 164, 328 
Bensaude, Dr. Joaquim, 163, 188, 

*33 3i5> 3* 

Besegue, river, 181 

Beseguiche, 75, 200, 287 

Bettencourt, Jean de, 42 

Bettencourt, Maciot de, 42, 46 

Bezeguiche, native ruler, interviewed 
by Diogo Gomes, 139, 181 

Bianco, Andrea, map of, 164, 328; 
'authentic island 1 on, 227 

Biker, 294, 323 

Bisboror, 109 

Biscay invaded, 190 

Bissagos islands, 129 

Boavista, 124 

Boccaccio, narratives of, 5, 49 

Bojador, cape, 28-9, 49, 66, 90, 238, 
243; attempts to double, 54 sqq. 

Boma, 210 

Bonavista, cape, 274 

Bor-damel, see Budomel 

Borgebil, 141 

Bormelli, 134 sqq. 

Bosque de Santa Maria, 184 

Boundary, cape, 273 

Braganza, Duke of, 52, 242; con- 
flict with John II, 1975 receives 
grant of Corvo, 925 trial and 
execution of, 198 

Branco, cape, 34, 65, 68, 72, 76, 78, 
97, 99, 122 i . . 

Brazil, 232; Caminha's description 
of, 283 sqq,; discovery of, 277, 
285-6; exploration of coast of, 
287; map of, 228; natives of, 2835 
origin of name, 285; possession 
secured by Portugal, 243; re- 
garded by some as an island, 285; 
sugar industry in, 41$ trading 
syndicate formed, 290 



Bristol Customs accounts of 1456, 
40 

Bruges, Emperor Maximilian im- 
prisoned at, 233; Portuguese 
factory at, 3 

Bruges, Jacques de, 52 

Buba, river, 132 

Bucker, 133 

Budomel, Cadamosto visits, 108; 
customs in land of, 112; horses of, 
11 3? J 395 merchandise in land of, 
112; on religion, 112 

Burbruck, 139, 141 

Cabo da Volta, 223 

Cabo das Correntes, 220 

Cabo das Redes, 202 

Cabo do Monte, 183 

Cabo Formoso, 273 

Cabot, John, first voyage of, 2705 
joins John Fernandesin expedition, 
2715 reaches Labrador, 2711 

Cabral, Goncalo Velho, see Velho, 
Goncalo 

Cabral, Pedro Alvares, discovery of 
Brazil attributed to, 228; expedi- 
tion to Brazil, 277 sqq.; lands in 
Brazil, 281 sqq.; da Gama's in- 
structions to, 286; obstructed by 
Moslem merchants at Calicut, 292; 
bombards Calicut, 292; visits 
Cochin and Cananor, 292; to 
India, 2925 returns from India, 
292 

Cacheu, river, 129 

Cacuta, 209, 2ii 

Cadamosto, Alvise da, narratives of, 
27* 39> 475 voyages of, 93, 96, 122; 
early life of, 945 takes service with 
Prince Henry, 95$ commercial 
enterprises of, 95; first voyage of, 
96; visits Madeira, 96; visits Porto 
Santo, 96; visits Canaries, 97; de- 
scription of the Azenegues, 105; 
visits Senegal, 106; visits Budomel, 
108-145 meeting of Usodimare 
with, 109, 115, 121 j on religion, 
1125 visits Cape Verde, 114; de- 
scription of Gambia, 117-20, 124 
sqq.; overcomes natives of Gambia, 
119; second voyage of, 122; dis- 
covers Cape Verde islands, 122, 143; 
visits Casa-Mansa, 128; discovers 
the Bissagos, 129; eulogy of 



339 



THE PORTUGUESE PIONEERS 



Henry the Navigator, 160; resi- 
dence at Lagos, 180; account of 
Guinea exploration, 180-84; astro- 
nomical work of, 316; on caravels, 
332 

Cadamosto, Giovanni, 94 

Caddeo, Rinaldo, editions of, 5, 94, 
115, 121, 143, 180 

Cadiz, Marques of, 195 

Cairo, 134, 218-19 

Calicut, 218 sqq.y 249; da Gama at, 
260; Hindus of, 262, 264; Samuri 
of, 261 sqq. 

Calixtus III, Pope, appeals for 
Crusade, 152; concessions to 
Order of Christ, 165; Bull of, 

*39 

Camara, Antonio Goncalves da, 43 
Camara dos Lobos, 96 
Camara, Ruy Goncalves da, 229 
Camello, John, Bishop of Algarve, 

*45 

Cameroons, 185 

Caminha, letter to King Manoel, 283 

Camoens, The Lusiads of, 15, 248, 
252, 254, 260, 310, 326 

Cananor, 218, 220, 292, 296 

Canary Islands, Boccaccio's descrip- 
tion of, 5 sqy.$ early voyages to, 
5 $qq.\ expedition to, 75 Castilian 
occupation of, 42; customs of, 99; 
disputes as to ownership of, 43-5; 
granted to La Cerda, 8, 42; in- 
habitants of, 98 j Portugal attempts 
to get possession of, 43, 46$ Portu- 
gal renounces claim to, 193 j visited 
by Cadamosto, 97 

Canaveal, 151 

Canerio, map of, 207, 276, 288, 329 

Cantino, Alberto, 170, 273 sqq^ map 
of, 207, 288, 329 

Canto, Eugenio do, 45 

Canton, river, 308 

Cantor, 28$ reached by Diogo Gomes, 
133 j negroes of, 135 

CSo, Diogo, 92, 196, 327; first 
voyage of, 206-8; second voyage 
of, 209-11; uncertainty as to date 
of death of, 210 

Cape Breton Island, 270 

Cape of Good Hope, 34; discovery 
of, 222, 226, 237; name for 
Stormy Cape, 225; route, results 
of opening, 268 



Cape Verde, Cadamosto visits, 114; 
description of, 115; expeditions 
to, 83 sqq. 9 90; Diogo Gomes 
reaches, 132 

Cape Verde islands, 143; conflicting 
claims to discovery of, 144; dis- 
covery of, 122-24, 141; revert to 
Crown, 1445 spiritualities granted 
to Order of Christ, 154; sugar 
industry in, 41; trade of, 184-5 

Capraria, island, 228 

Caramansa, see Casa-Mansa 

Caravels, 332 

Carpini, Pian de, 214 

Carracks, 332 

Carthage, 134 

Carthagena, Afonso de, 43 

Cartography, Portuguese study of, 
327 

Casa-Mansa, negotiates with Azam- 
buja, 202; permits building of 
Mina Fort, 203 

Casa-Mansa, visited by Cadamosto, 
128 

Casas, Guillen de las, 42, 46-7 

Castanheda, FernSo Lopes de, 220 

Castello d' Altar Pedroso, 284 

Castile, war between Portugal and, 
189 sqq. 

Castilians occupy Canary Isknds, 
42 

Castro, Alvaro de, 47, 176 

Castro, Fernando de, 43-4 

Castro, John de, 319, 322; nautical 
studies of, 324 sqq. 

Castro, John de, attempt on the 
Canaries, 28 

Catalan maps, 48-9, 327 

Cathay, 189, 230 

Catherine, Queen of Portugal, 306 

Catumbella, river, 208 

Caturs, 333 

Cerda, Luis de la, 8, 42 

Cereculle, 135 

Cerveira, 169 

Ceuta, naval fight at, 3; expedition 
to, 13, 15; map drawn of, 18; 
convicts sent to, 195 description 
of, 245 fall of, 265 fifth centenary 
of capture of, 26; sieges of, 37, 
147; capture of, 39; proposed 
retrocession of, 6 1, 162; chronicles 
of, 146; life at, 146; military 
service in, 147; as base of Afonso 



340 



INDEX 



V's expeditions, 173; becomes 
Spanish possession, 179 

Ceylon, 219, 289; Christian com- 
munities in, 2995 first visit of 
Portuguese to, 296 

Charles V of Spain, 242, 305 sqq. 

Charles the Bold, 191 

Chaul, 297 

China, first Portuguese mission to, 
306; official embassy to, 307$ 
Portuguese forbidden to trade 
with, 309 

Chincheu, 309 

Christian I of Denmark sends ex- 
pedition to Arctic, 1 86 

Christian III of Denmark, 187 

Christopher, King of Scandinavia, 
90 

Cipango, island, 234, 237, 270 

Clavus, Claudius, 186 

Clement VI, Pope, 8 

Cochia (Kukia), 104, 133, 135 

Cochin, Cabral reaches, 292; Fran- 
cisco de Almeida establishes his 
seat of government there, 296 

Coelho, Gon?alo, expedition to 
Brazil, 290 

Coelho, Nicolas, 249, 261, 263; 
reaches the Tagus, 266; voyage 
to India, 277 sqq. 

Cogominho, Nuno Fernandes, 4 

Coimbra, John de, 249 

Coimbra University, 163 

Colaco, Joao, 212 

Columbus, Bartholomew, 237 

Columbus, Christopher, 94, 171, 
217, 230; handwriting of, 2225 
misfortunes of, 232; demands sub- 
sidy from John II for voyage in 
Western Ocean, 232; early life of, 
23 3 j marriage of, 233; reasons for 
rejection of his proposals, 235; 
leaves Portugal for Spain, 235; 
character of, 2355 asks for safe- 
conduct to Portugal, 236; Journal 
of, 237; returns to Portugal, 237; 
squadron equipped to follow, 238; 
correspondence on Bull of Alex- 
ander VI, 240$ compared with 
da Gama, 266; astronomical ob- 
servations of, 323 

Columbus, Ferdinand, 189, 233 

Compasses, nautical, 315 

Conception Bay, 274 



Congo, Christianity introduced into, 
2115 explored by C2o, 207; in- 
vaded by the Dutch, 207; old 
Kingdom of, 210 

Congo, King of, and seized natives, 
209; Cao's negotiations with, 210 

Conmuberta, 135 

Constantinople, capture of, 151 

Conti, Patrizio di, 95 

Copper, river, 255 

Corbizzi, Angiolino de, 6 

Cordeiro, Father Antonio, 50 

Cordeiro, Luciano, 205, 208 

Correa, Ayres, 292 

Correa, Caspar, 266, 300 

Correa, Pedro, 229 

Correntes, cape, 256 

Corsali, Andrew, 307 

Corso, cape, 202 

Corte Real, Caspar, 187, 3205 first 
voyage of, 271; coasts Greenland, 
272; second voyage of, 272 sqq.$ 
loss of, 276; search for, 275 

Corte Real, JoSo Vaz, 187 

Corte Real, Miguel, joins brother 
in expedition, 272; search for his 
brother, 2755 loss of, 276 

Corte Real, Vasqueanes, 276 

CortezSo, Armando, 92 

Cortezato, Dr. Jaime, narratives of, 
20, 29, 165, 168, 170-71, 316, 

322, 3*5 

Corvo, island, re-discovery of, 51-2; 
church founded at, 167 

Cosa, Juan de la, 170, 243, 291 

Costa, Sueiro da, 80 sqq., 185 

Coutinho, Admiral Gago, 253 

Coutinho, John, 176 

Covilhan, Pero da, 214; origin of, 
216; scientific assistants of, 216-17; 
charts prepared for, 217; travels 
with Paiva, 217 sqq.$ journey to 
India, 218 J^y.j letter to John II, 
219, 220; visits Sofala and settles 
problem of sea -route to India, 
220; reaches Prester John, 221 

Cresques, Abraham, 20, 29 

Cresques, Jahuda, see Jacome, Master 

Crete, source of Malvoisie grape, 41 

Cross, cape, 209, 210 

Crusading fleets, 14 

Cueva, Beltran de la, 190 

Cunha, Ayres da, 149 

Cunha, Francisco da, 246 



341 



THE PORTUGUESE PIONEERS 



Cunha, Pero Vaz da, 212, 286 
Cunha, Tristao da, 297, 304 

Dahomey, 185 

d'Ailly, Pierre, 222, 234 

d'Alcapova, Simon, 308-9 

d'Almeida, Diogo Lopes, 57 

Dande, river, 208 

d'Ataide, Vasco, 278 

Dauphin map, 311 

Davis Strait, 273 

d'Eca, Vicente Almeida, 165 

Delbosc, R. FoulchS, 196 

Delgado, John, 140 

Desceliers, Pierre, map of, 311 

Deserta, industries of, 41 

d'Este, Hercules, Duke of Ferrara, 

189 

d'Evora, Pero, 200, 212 
Dias, Bartholomew, 92, 200, 206, 

220; voyage round S. Africa, 222 

sqq., 250, 254, 3325 voyage to 

India, 277, 279 sqq. 
Dias, Dinis, 74, 80, 83, 85 
Dias, Diogo, 282 
Dias, Lawrence, 80 
Dias, Pedro, 222 
Dias, Stephen, 331 
Dias, Vincent, 96 
Dieppe, maps made at, 311; voyages 

of men of, 34 
Diniz, King, Portuguese Navy 

under, 4 

Diogo, Master, 329 
Diu, battle of, 297 
Djap^ara, 311 
d'OHveira, Braz, 333 
Doria, expedition of, 32, 34 
Dornellas, Afonso de, 9, 146 
Dornellas, Alvaro, 43 
Dourado, Vaz, atlas of, 187, 272, 

3i3 330 

Douro, river, 12 

Drake, Sir Francis, fires fortress at 
Sagres, 1565 rounds the globe, 291 

Duarte, King, 23, 92, 1695 grants 
charter to Oporto, 13; character 
of, 15; in Ceuta expedition, 25; 
grants charter to Prince Henry, 
41, 56; death of, 585 on Prince 
Henry's defects, 161-3; ^d ^ e 
retrocession of Ceuta, 1625 and 
astronomy, 316 

Dulcert, Angelino, 327 



Dulmo, Fernao, 230-31 
Dutch attacks on Portuguese India, 
303; invasion of Congo, 207 

Eannes, Gil, 331; on Crusade, 815 
rounds Cape Bojador, 55, 56, 70 

Eannes, Goncalo, 212 

Edrisi, description of Ceuta by, 24 

Edward II, King, 5 

Edward III, King, 5 

Edward IV, King, 174, 175, 196 

Egypt, Sultan of, 295, 297 

Elmina, see Mina 

Emin, river, 134 

Empoli, John de, 285, 307 sqq. 

England, Portuguese merchants in, 
3; Tangier ceded to, 180 

Equator as dividing-line of Portu- 
guese and Spanish spheres, 243 

Erik, King of Denmark, 186 

Errera, Carlo, 189 

Escolar, Pero de, 185, 210, 249, 277 

Espichel, cape, 3 

Esquimaux, Goes* description of, 
272 

Esteves, Alvaro, 185 

Estreito, John Afonso de, 231 

Ethiopia, 32, 107, 170, 218 

Eugenius IV, Pope, 43 sqq., 59, 66 

European sovereignty in the East 
founded, 298 

Evora, 154, 198 

Faleiro, Francisco, 319, 323, 330 

Faleiro, Ruy, 323 sqq. 

Falmouth, 297 

Fancasso, river, 132 

Farewell, cape, 272 

Farisangul, 133, 135 

Faro, investment of, 4 

Fauconberg, Bastard of, 174 

Fayal, island, 48, 52, 230-31 

Ferdinand and Isabella, receive 
Papal grants, 239, 241 

Fernandes, Alvaro, 200; reaches 
Cape of Masts, 86; second expedi- 
tion of, 88 

Fernandes, Goncalo, 229 

Fernandes, John, 73, 765 travels of, 
77-8, 89 

Fernandes, John, Labrador, 270 

Fernandes, Martin, 185 

Fernandes, Martin, 67 



342 



INDEX 



Fernandas, Valentim, 51, 140, 318; 

codex at Munich, 131 
Fernando, brother of Afonso V, 47, 

143, 144, 174, 180 
Fernando, King, claims ^tne Can- 
aries, 9; creates shipping com- 
pany, 10; naval expenditure of, 10; 
founds insurance fund for ship- 
ping, 12 

Fernando, son of John I, 15, 16; 
expedition to Tangier, 59 sqq.\ 
kept captive by Moors, 61 j death 
of, 6 1, 161; discussion on libera- 
tion of, 162; bones returned to 
Portugal, 176 

Fernando P6, 185 

Fernao Vaz, river, 208 

Ferrara, Council of, 32 

Ferreira, Gonalo, 141 

Ferrer, Jaime, voyage, of, 20 

Ferro, island, 8, 42, 97, 99 

Fez (Marrakesh), 61, 104, 134, 216 

Fez, King of, 153, 176? i7 8 

Ficalhp, Count de, 219 

Figueiredo, Dr. Jos6 de, 157 

Flanders, voyage to, 95 sqq. 

Flemings, expeditions to Gold Coast, 
196 

Flemish Islands, 52 

Flores, island, rediscovery of, 51, 52; 
Church founded at, 167 

Foists, 333 

Formigas rocks, 50 

Forosangoli, ruler of Gambia, 125 

Fortunate Islands, see Canary Is- 
lands 

Foscarini, Doge, 329 

Fosse, Eustache de la, 196 

Franca, Lan?arote de, 9 

Frangazick, 133 

Frederick III, Emperor, 67 

Frei Luis (Belle Isle), 274 

Freire, A. Braamcamp, 297 

Freitas, Alvaro de, 81 sqq., 85 

Freitas, Frei Serafim de, 268 

French Channel ports, Portuguese 
merchants in, 3 

Frio, cape, 290 

Frisius, Gemma, map of, 187 

Froes, Stephen, 234, H3 

Fructuoso, Father Gaspar, 36, 41, 51 

Fuerteventura, island, 8, 42, 44, 97 

Fugger trading-house, 296 

Funchal, 39, 96 



Galeota$y 333 

Gale's, 333 

Galleons, 332 

Galvano, Antonio, see GalvSo 

Galvao, Antonio, narratives of, 32, 
36, 144, 225, 227, 287, 288, 313 

GalvSo, Duarte, 233 

Galway, trade with Portugal, 89 ^ 

Gama, Christopher da, expedition 
of, 222 

Gama, Paulo de, 249, 258, 266 

Gama, Stephen da, 293 

Gama, Vasco da, 163, 165; early 
career of, 248; first expedition of, 
248 sqq.; fleet of, 249; character 
of, 2495 act of homage to King 
Manuel, 2515 scientific equipment 
of, 2515 expedition starts from 
Lisbon, 252; Cape Verde Islands, 
252; Terra Alta, 2525 Santa 
Helena Bay, 2535 doubles the 
Cape, 254; Great Fish river, 2555 
Mozambique, 256, 265; Malindi, 
258, 265; Mombasa, 258; Calicut, 
260, 262, 294; Pandarani, 261; 
welcomed by Samuri, 261; in- 
trigues of Moslem merchants, 264; 
reaches Anjediva Islands, 265; 
starts on homeward voyage, 265; 
achievements of, 266; triumphal 
return to Lisbon, 266; compared 
with Columbus, 2675 rewards con- 
ferred on, 269; instructions to 
Cabral, 2865 second expedition to 
India, 293, ^4. 

Gambia, kingdom of, 107; Cada- 
mosto's description of, 117 sqq., 124 
sqq.; Christian mission to, 153; 
constellations observed in, 120; 
inhabitants of, 118, 128 
Gambia, river, animals of, 1275 
Diogo Gomes sails up the, 1325 
reached by Cadamosto, 114, 124; 
by Usodimare, 121, 124 
Garcas, island, 139 
Geba, river, 87, 130 
Gelu, Mount, gold-mines of, i33"4> 

136 

Genoa, leading naval power, 4 
George, bastard son of John II, 245- 

246 

Gibraltar, 20; captured by Spaniards, 
1745 Portuguese designs on, 28, 
147; Strait of, 157 



343 



THE PORTUGUESE PIONEERS 



Gil, Alvaro, 148 

Gil, Diogo, 89 

Goa, 219, 220; conquest of, 298, 

300; colonisation of, 299 sqq.$ 

government of, 301 
Goes, Bento de, 310 
Goes, Damiao de, narratives of, 31, 

144, 153, 165, 169, 175, 177, 272 
Gold of Kukia, 135; trade of N.-W. 

Africa, 100, 104-105 
Gold Coast, 185, 196 
Gomera, island, 8, 9, 43, 46, 85, 89, 

97> 99 

Gomes, Diogo, 28, 31; account of 
colonisation of Porto Santo, 
Madeira, 38 sqq.; of discovery of 
Azores, 51; first voyage of, 130, 
131; reaches Cantor, 133; meets 
Batti-Mansa, 1365 interviews 
Nomi-Mansa, 137, 138; Beze- 
guiche, 139; returns to Portugal, 
138-40; second voyage of, 140 
sqq.; visits land of Barbacini, 140; 
discovers Cape Verde Islands, 
1415 joins da Noli, 141; astro- 
nomical observations of, 142; 
account of death of Prince Henry, 
154; trading activities of, 167; 
study of latitude, 316 

Gomes, Fernao, 207; Guinea trade 
farmed out to, 184; sails for West 
Africa, 195 

Gomes, Stephen, 331 

Gonsalves, Ant2o, 95; made captain 
of Lanzarote, 46; captures first 
natives, 62 sqq.; second voyage of, 
66 sqq.; trading attempts at Rio 
do Ouro, 89; visits Rio do Ouro, 

67? 73> 76 

Gon?alves, Lopo, 185 
Goncalves, Nuno, 157, 178 
Good Hope, Cape of, see Cape of 

Good Hope 
Goree, island, 75, 200 
Graciosa, island, 52, 154, 178, 230 
Granada, fall of, 237; Mohammedan 
1 kingdom of, 18, 54 
Grand Canary, island, 8, 43, 44, 48, 

97> 98, 99 

Great Barrier Reef, 312 
Great Fish, river, 225, 255 
Greenland, 187, 270, 276 
Grib, Carsten, 187 
Guedalha, Master, 316 



Guinea, Chronicle of, 37, 39, ^ 2> 
91, 130, 155, 157, 164 sqq., 1685 
capture of natives from, 70; 
colonisation of, 69$ conceded to 
Portugal, 48, 193; connotation of 
the name, 199; discovery of, 28 
sqq., of farther, 196; expedition to, 
89; exploration of, 67; pepper 
from, 212; trade of, farmed out, 
184; trading disputes in, 196 

Guinea, Gulf of, 171 

Haegen, Willem van der, 52 

Haiti, 234 

Hamilton Inlet, 273 

Hamy, Dr., map of, 207, 329 

Hanno, 34 

Harrison, cape, 273 

Harrisse, Henry, 187 

Hawke Bay, 273 

Helena, Queen of Abyssinia, 298 

Hell's Cauldron, 210 

Henry III, King of Castile, 44 

Henry IV, King of Castile, 190; 

grants Canaries to Portuguese, 47; 

marries Joana of Portugal, 92; 

relations with Portuguese, 193 
Henry VI, King of England, 174, 

175 

Henry VII, King of England, 236 
Henry the Navigator, voyages of, 
10; character of, 17; and the Ceuta 
expedition, 24; as Crusader, 27, 
167; maritime explorations of, 27 
sqq.- 9 abandons the Court, 28; 
reasons for explorations of, 29-31, 
42, 91, 16$; commercial aims of, 
30 sqq.; scientific aims of, 30-31; 
and the Indies, 31, 32; relations 
with Ethiopia, 32; forerunners 
6 33"45 contributions to geo- 
graphical science, 335 colonising 
work of, 37, 52; attempts to 
conquer Canaries, 43, 46; expedi- 
tion to Tangier, 46, 58 sqq.; is 
granted concessions in Africa, 47; 
sends expeditions to the Azores, 50; 
and to West Africa, 54 sqq., 76 sqq.; 
is granted Madeira, 56; at Ceuta, 
61; obtains Bull of Crusade from 
Pope, 66; constructs Arguim fort, 
69; slave-raiding, 72, 102; finan- 
cial difficulties of, 92; supports 
commercial enterprises, 94 sqq.$ 



344 



INDEX 



trading contract at Arguim, 101; 
death of, 140, 154; raises siege of 
Ceuta, 147; designs of, on Gib- 
raltar, 147; at Alcacer-Seguer, 
152; will of, 154; burial of, 155; 
tomb of, 1555 memorial at Sagres, 
156; portraits of, 157; statues of, 
157; Zurara's description of, 158- 
i6oj Cadamosto's eulogy of, 160; 
responsibility for death of his 
brothers, 161-2; faults of, 1 161; 
churches built by, i63;^connection 
with University of Lisbon^ 163; 
Sagres, the town of, 164; as pioneer 
of trade, 167; benefits he conferred 
on Portugal, 167; trading mono- 
polies of, 1 68 sqq.; southern limit of 
his discoveries, 1715 desire to get 
in touch with Prester John, 215; 
astronomical studies of, 316; horo- 
scope of, 316 

Heredia, Manuel Godinho de, 313 

Herodotus, 31, 103 

Heron Island, 68, 80 

Herrera, 230 

Holywood, John, 318 

Homem, Alvaro Martins, 187 

Homem, Andre", 330 

Homem, Garcia, 89 

Homem, Hector, 57 

Hottentot inhabitants of the Cape, 
253 

Hudson, 325 

Humboldt, 317 

Hummerich, Dr. Franz, 266 

Hurtere, Josse de, 52, 231 

Ibn Fatima, 34 

Ibn Majid, 260 

Iceland, 187 

Imago Mundi, 222 

India, da Gama's arrival in, 260; 
da Gama's gifts for potentates in, 
250; discovery of, 167; enterprise 
of sea-route to, debated, 248; in- 
struments used on voyage to, 323; 
Portuguese trade with, 295; search 
for, 31 

India, Caspar da, 265 t t 

Indian Ocean, Portuguese dominion 
of, 207 

Indies, search for northern route to : 
1865 Toscanelli's advice on route 
to, 189 



[nfante, John, 222, 225 
[nhame (Brazilian root), 283-4 
[sabel, daughter of John I, 15 
Isabella, Queen, 190, 244. See also 

Ferdinand and Isabella 
Island of Giants, 312 
Iskndof Gold, 313 
[sland of the Moon, 220 
[smael, Shah of Persia, 298 
Ivory Coast, 185 

Jacome, Master, 29, 205, 327 

Jaloffs, 74, 107, 141 

Japan, Christian Church in, 299; 

first recorded visit to, 309, 310 
Java, establishment of Portuguese in, 

3 11 

Jedda, 221 

Jesuits as missionaries, 221; ex- 
plorations by, 310 

Jews, study of astrology, 315 

Joana, daughter of Henry IV, 190, 
192 

Joanna, daughter of King Duarte, 

47> 9 2 

Joao Vaz, baj of, 187 
John I, King, 28, 74> 2I 55 as 
Crusader, 17; at Ceuta, ^ 27; 
children of, 15; reconstitutes 
Portuguese navy, 12 
John II,ftKing, 15, 168,^185; ex- 
ploration under, 92; petitioned to 
exclude foreigners, 1715 continues 
policy of Afonso V in Morocco, 
178; directs overseas possessions, 
1 8 8, 1995 restores crown to Afonso 
V, 192; embassy to Edward IV, 
196; conflict with the nobility, 
197; reconstitutes Arguim fort, 
1995 and round ships, 2015 
assumes title of Lord or Guinea, 
2045 character of, 2055 appoints 
committee on navigation, 206; 
sends C2o and Dias to continue 
exploration, 206 sqq.$ attempts to 
open trade with interior of Africa, 
212; cosmographers of, 2135 at- 
tempts to get in touch with Prester 
John, 216; sends agents to Jerusa- 
lem, 217; Covilhan's letter to, 219, 
220; grants land to Fernao Dulmo, 
230; rejects proposed voyage of 
Columbus, 234-55 sees Columbus, 
237; negotiates about fishing 



345 



THE PORTUGUESE PIONEERS 



rights, 238; protests against Bull 
of Pope Alexander VI, 2415 and 
Treaty of Tordesillas, 243; achieve- 
ments of, 244; death of, 245 sqq^ 
founds spice factory at Antwerp, 
297; his Junta of astronomers, 316 

John II, King of Castile, 43, 45, 47 

John III, 179, 299 

John XXII, Pope, 215 

John XXIII, Pope, 17 

John Afonso, Treasurer, 18 

John, Master, 320 

John of Gaunt, 12 

Jorge, Dr. Ricardo, 245 

Kilimane, 256 

Kilwa, 256, 2575 Cabral reaches, 

291; fort erected at, by Francisco 

de Almeida, 296 
Kilwa, Sultan of, 294 
Kopke, Diogo, 250 
Kretchmer map, 270 
Kukia (Cochia), 104, 133, 135 
Kwanga, river, 208 

Laaland, 186 

Labrador, 187, 232, 271, 273; 
natives of, 275 

Lagos, 28, 72 j Afonso V lands at, 
152; Cadamosto leaves, 122; ex- 
peditions of men of, 69, 795 
Diogo Gomes returns to, 140; 
Henry the Navigator first buried 
at, 154 

Lagos Bay, 23, 175 

Lamego, Joseph of, 219 

Lameiro, Port of, 149 

Land of Good Folk, 255 

Landmarks, Bay of, 272 

Lantau, 308 

Lanzarote, island, 9, 42, 44, 46, 97 

Larache, river, 178 

Las Casas, 189, 233 

Latitude, first recorded Portuguese 
observation of, 316 

Laurentian Portolan, 32, 48, 327 

Ledo, cape, 182 

Leiria, pine forest of, 4 

LeitSo, 222 

Leo X, Pope, 304-5 

Leonor, Queen, 62, 67, 247, 316 

Letter of Privileges of King Fer- 
nando, conditions of, n; effect on 
Portuguese trade, 12 



346 



Liberia, 183 

Lillo, Antonio Rodrigues de, 194 

Lima, Oliveira, 243 

Lima, Rodrigo de, mission to 
Abyssinia, 220 

Linschoten, 325 

Lisboa, Antonio de, 217 

Lisboa, John de, 319, 322-3 

Lisbon a free port, 10; Academy of 
Sciences, 250, 295, 333; as centre 
of Portuguese trade, 3; capture 
of, 5; Castilian investment of, 12; 
earthquake at, 178, 327; ex- 
peditions from, 59, 173; Mina 
House in, 244; Prester John's 
envoy at, 325 privileges of ad- 
mirals in, 5; statue from Canaries 
taken to, 7; supersedes Venice as 
mart for Eastern products, 2975 
trade with, under Fernando, n; 
University of, 163 

LizirSo, 150 

Loango Bay, 207 

Lobo, cape, 208 

Lobo, Jeronimo, 310 

Longitude, early methods of deter- 
mining, 323 sqq, 

Lopes, Afonso, 279 

Lopes, Fernao, n 

Lopes, Thom6, 283, 293 

Lopo Goncalves, cape, 206 

Los, islands, 181 

Louis XI assists Duke of Lorraine, 
192; meets Afonso V, 191 

Loxodromic curve, 324 

Luiz, Lazaro, 330 

Lull, Raymond, 30 

Macau, 309 

Machico, reputed discoverer of 
Madeira, 35; 96 

Machin, Robert, romance of, 35-6 

Madagascar, 297 

Madeira, condition of, in 1455, 96 j 
discovery of, 35 syq.- t fire in, 39; 
Diogo Gomes visits, 142; settle- 
ment of, 37 sqy.$ Cadamosto 
visits, 96 j spiritualities granted to 
Order of Christ, 154; sugar in- 
dustry in, 40, 41, 96; wine in- 
dustry in, 41 ; wood exported from, 

39 

Magellan, Ferdinand, 171, 242; 
rounds the globe, 291; expedition 



INDEX 



to the Moluccas, 305$ pilots of, 
331; wine for fleet of, 335 
' Magellan, Strait of, 310 

Magellanica, 311 

Maghrurin, 5 

Magnaghi, Alberto, 171, 241, 289 

Majorca, 29 

Malabar Coast, Christian com- 
munities on, 299; conditions on, 
when da Gama reached it, 260 

Malacca, capture of, 298, 299, 304 

Malaguette pepper, too 

Malindi, 256, 258; Cabral reaches, 
291; da Gama reaches, 258, 265 

Malmsey wine, 41 

Malocello rediscovers the Canaries, 

5' 34. 

Malvoisie grapes, 41, 97 

Mandeville, 186 

Mandi Mansa, 212 

Mandinga, kingdom of, 20, 212 

Mani Congo, 210-11 

Manoel I, King, 40, 143, 157, 165, 
*77? *85, 218, 234, 2455 continues 
policy of conquest in Morocco, 
178; ascends the throne, 248; 
sends out da Gama, 248 sqq^ 
Cabral, 277 sqq.\ and other 
captains, 293 sqq.$ takes new title, 
268; sends expeditions to explore 
Brazil, 257; leases Brazil trade, 
290; keeps permanent force in the 
East, 2955 empire-building in the 
East by, 299; income from the 
East, 301 

Mansoa, river, 129 

Mappa Mundi, 16, 90, 164, 328 

Maps, suppression of Portuguese, 
1705 those used by Prince Henry, 

3*7 

Marakesh, see Fez 
Marchioni, Bartholomew, 218 
Marcus, Lucas, 217 
Mare, Antioniotto Uso di, 90 
Mare Clausum, doctrine of the, 197 
Mariz, Pedro de, narratives of, 249 
Marseilles, Portuguese merchants at, 

Martellus, Henry, map of, 207, 210, 

3*9 

Martins, Alvaro, 222 
Martins, Canon FernSo, 188-9 
Martins, J. P. Oliveira, 16, 161, 191, 



Masser, Leonardo da Cha, 249 
Masts, Cape of, 86, 88, 132 
Mathematicians, John II's Junta of, 

316, 318 

Matthew of Pisa, narrative of, 13 
Mauro, Fra, maps of, 164, 171-2, 

216, 220, 328 
Mauro, Frei, 295 
Maximilian, Emperor, 232-3 
Mazag2o taken by Portuguese, 179; 

reverts to the Moors, 180 
Medina, 221 

Medina, Duke of, 195-6, 216 
Mediterranean, formation of sea law 

in, 12; use of compasses in the, 14 
MelH, 103-4 
Melli, Emperor of, 125 
Mello, Francisco Manuel de, 36, 156 
Mendes, Ruy, 149, 150 
Mendon?a, Anna de, 246 
Meneses, Lopo Scares de, expedition 

of, 294 
Menezes, Duarte de, 146, 148, 150, 

I 5 I > *53 

Menezes family, achievements of, 
169 

Menezes, Pedro de, 26, 146 

Mercator, map of, 187, 312, 325 

Messa, 27, 89, 105 

Mesurado, cape, 183 

Meymom, Ahude, 77-8 

MiUares, Agustin, 42-3 

Mina (Elmina), 171, 185, 196, 204, 
206, 226, 234, 251; becomes a 
municipality, 2045 fortress of St 
George, 199 

Mina House, 329 

Minho, province of, 284 

Miranda, Francisco de, 200 

Mogadishu, 265 

Mogador, 178, 204 

Mohammedan dominion in fifteenth 
century, 30 

Moluccas claimed by Spaniards, 
2425 discovery of, 304; negotia- 
tions between Portugal and Spain 
concerning 1 , 305 j Dutch invasion 
of, 306 

Mombasa, 256; da Gama reaches, 
258 

Moncaide, 264-5, 292 

Monte Alto, 208 

Montemor, Marquis of, 197-8 

Monte Negro, 209 



347 



THE PORTUGUESE PIONEERS 



Monterroyo, Pedro de, 217 

Moors, defeat of, at Ceuta, 245 de- 
fence of Tangier, 60; besiege 
Ceuta, 147; expulsion from Spain, 
237; study of astrology, 315 

Morales, 35 

Morocco, crusade in, 1515 Portu- 
guese attacks on, 174 sqq. 

Morro of Benguella, 208 

Moses, Master, 217 

Moslem merchants in India, 218 j 
intrigues of, 264, 266; obstruct 
Cabral, 292 

Mossel Bay, 224, 253 

Mosto, A. da, 94 

Mota, Antonio de, 309 

Mozambique, 256, 291 

Mozambique, Sultan of, 257, 259 

Mposo, river, 210 

Mundus No e vus, 288 

Mundy, 23 

Miinzer, Dr. Jerome, 33, 230, 232, 
244 

Nancy, 191 

Naples, 218 

Natal, discovery of, 255 

Naus^ 332 ^ 

Nautical instruments, 315, 319$ 
science, development of, 315 sqq. 

Navigation, development of science 
of, 31 5 sqq. 

Necho, Pharaoh, 34 

Negro, Juda, 22 

Negro-land, 78, 114 

Newfoundland, 187, 2705 coast ex- 
plored by Corte Real, 274 

New Hebrides, 331 

Nicholas V, Pope, 47, 166, 239 

Nicolas, Caspar, 319 

Niebla, Conde de, 42 

Niger, river, 106 

Nigeria, 185 

Nile, confusion with Niger and 
Senegal, 106; expeditions to, 83, 
310 

Nippon, see Japan 

Niza, Marquis de, 263 

Noki, 210 

Noli, Antonio da, 115, 141 sqq., 195 

Nomi-Mansa, native king, 137, 140, 

153 

Non, cape, 28, 29, 54, 89, 166, 171 
Nordenskidld, Baron, 164, 322, 328 



348 



Noronha, Fernando de, 148, 150, 

151, 290-91 

Nova, John da, expedition of, 293 
Nubia, 170-71 

Nunes, Pedro, 318 sqq., 324 sqq. 
Nuremberg, 232 

Odemira granted to Admiral Pes- 

sanha, 5 

Oden (Wadan), 100 sqq., 105, 212 
Oderic of Pordenone, 214 
Ogane*, native king, 212; identified 

as Prester John, 213 
Ojeda, Alonso de, 288 sqq. 
Oldham, Yule, 228 
Oliveira, Fernando, 334 
Oliyenga, 88 
Ollimansa, 133, 135 
Ona, 104 
Oporto as centre of Portuguese trade, 

3; charter granted to, 13; squadron 

sent to, 12; statue of Prince Henry 

in, 157 

Oran, 104, 134 
Order of Christ, spiritual jurisdiction 

granted to, 154, 165, 170, 239 
Ormuz, 219, 221, 298 
Orta, Garcia da, 219 
Ortiz, Diogo, Bishop of Tangier, 

216, 234, 251 

Pacheco, Duarte, narratives of, $$, 
78, 100, 167, 182, 196, 222, 225, 
244, 250, 2975 voyage to America 
in 1498, 277; to Brazil and East, 
286$ defeats the Samuri, 295; as 
scientist, 319 

Pacheco, Goncalo, expedition of, 
78, 80 

Padroes, use of, in exploration, 206 

Padrone, cape, 224 

Paes, Pedro, 310 

Paiva, Afonso de, 214, 216; sent to 
find Prester John, 218; death of, 
219 

Paiva, Dr. Antonio da Costa, 250 

Palencia, Alonso de, 144, 193-4, 201 

Palenco, 47, 80 

Palestine, threat to Holy Places of, 
295 

Palma, island, 46, 48, 85, 97, 99, 142 

Palma de Budomel, 108 

Palmas, cape, 171 



INDEX 



Palos mariners, defeat Franco- 
Portuguese squadron, 195; ex- 
pedition to Guinea, 1945 receive 
trading licence, 196 

Pandarani, 261 

Papal Bulls in favour of Spanish 
sovereigns, 239 sqq. 5 rights over 
unoccupied land, 8 

Papuan Archipelago, 310 

Pasai, 308 

Pasqualigo, Pietro, 273 sqq., 285 

Pastrana tapestries, 175, 177-8 

Paz y Melia, 193 

Pedro, Infant, 15, 18, 66, 92; 
character of, 16; travels of, 16; 
colonises St. Michael, 52} opposes 
expedition to Tangier, 59; becomes 
Regent, 62; death of, 62, 161 

Pedro, son of the Regent, 153 

Peixoto, Antonio, 309 

Penteado, Antonio Anes, 330 

Peraza, Fernan, 47 

Pereira, Gabriel, 131 

Pereira, John, 149 

Pereira, Nuno Alvares, the Holy 
Constable, 17, 19 

Peres, Prof. Damiao, 172 

Peres, Thome", visit to China, 308; 
death in Canton, 309 

Perestrello, Bartholomew, 37, 41, 

2 33 

Perestrello, Raphael, 307 
Pessanha, Lancarote, admiral, 10; 

aids King of Castile, 10 
Pessanha, Lancarote, first expedi- 
tion of, to Guinea, 69; second ex- 
pedition of, 79 sqq. 
Pessanha, Manoel, admiral, 4, 10 
Petrarch, reference to Canaries, 5 
Philip the Good, Duke of Burgundy, 

15 

PhiKppa, Queen of Denmark, 186 
Philippa, Queen of Portugal, 15, 17, 

i9 *3> 155 

Pico, island, 48, 52 

Pimp2o, Alvaro J. da Costa, 169 

Pina, Ruy de, narratives of, 16, 153, 
161, 169, 175, 196, 205, 209, 222, 
237 

Pining, 187 

Pires, Gomes, 73, 80, 82, 85; ex- 
pedition to Rio do Ouro, 89 

Pires, Ines, 15 

Pisa, 195 



Pius II, Pope, 223 

Placencia, 190 

Polo, Marco, 16, 32, 189, 214, 234, 

3" 

Pombal, 163 

Port Alexander, 223 

Port of the Cavalier, 65 

Port of the Galley, 58, 64 

Porto Santo, discovery of, 355 in- 
dustries of, 41; settlement in, 37, 
96 

Portugal, benefits conferred by 
Prince Henry on, 167; early mari- 
time history of, 3; Guinea con- 
ceded to, 48; hostilities with Cas- 
tile, 47, 193 sqq.; line of demarca- 
tion of spheres of Spain and, 241, 
305; renounces claim to Canaries, 
193; struggle for the Canaries, 42 

W- 
Portuguese and art of navigation, 

14; as lingua franca in the East, 
3015 capture Ceuta, 26, and 
Arzila, 176; cartographical know- 
ledge and service of, 327 sqq.$ 
claims to discovery of, 31, 48-95 
colonisation by intermarriage, 299, 
300; dominion in the East, 303; 
fighting methods of, 147; fishing 
rights, 238, 243; medieval trade, 
3; missionaries in the East, 299; 
navy: rations of, 334; reconstruc- 
tion of, i2j sent to assist John of 
Gaunt, 125 under first kings, 3 
sqq.$ occupy Tangier, 177; pilots, 
330; printing, early, 13 ij sailing 
vessels, 331; seamen, pay of, 335; 
secrecy about expeditions, 168, 
171, 21 1 ; settlements, half-caste 
populations of, 300, 301; tables of 
declination, 316 sqq.\ trade with 
Galway, 89, with India, 295, 
with N.-W. Africa, 101 
Pothorst, 187 
Prado, de, 141 

Praia Formosa de S. Domingos, 207 
Prester John, 32, 66, 165-6, 170, 
2525 expedition to find, 214; first 
seen by Covilhan, 221; identified 
with Ogane*, 213; kingdom of, 
213, 215; legend of, 214-15 
Prince's Island, 185, 225, 329 
Ptolemy, 31, 38, 51; on geography 
of S. Africa, 213 



349 



THE PORTUGUESE PIONEERS 



Queiroz, Pedro Fernandes de, 331 
Quevedo, Vasco Mousinho de, 177 
Quilon, bombardment of, 296 
Quinas, 299 
Quirini, 323 

Ransome, Cape of, 69 
Raposeira, 95 

Ravenstein, E. G., narratives of, 
207-8, 210, 232, 250-51, 319, 332 
Rebello, Gen. Brito, 35, 229 
Rebello, Gabriel, 310, 313 
Rebelo, Rodrigo, 212 
Recco, Niccoloso da, 6 
Red, river, 182 

Regimento given to mariners, 202 
Regiomontanus, 232, 317 
Reinel, George, 329-30 
Reinel, Pedro, map of, 311, 322, 

329330 

Reinel, Rodrigo, 212 
Reis, Jayme Batalha, 228 
Reparaz, Goncalo de, 29 
Resende, Garcia de, narratives of, 

193, 196, 200, 221, 237, 245, 249 
Restello, 163 
Rhodes, 218 
Ribeira Grande, 144 
Ribeiro, Afonso, 280 sqq. 
Ribeiro, Diogo, map of, 323, 329-30 
Ribeiro, JoSo Goncalves, 131 
Riccardiana Library, atlas in the, 

187 

Rio das Palmas, 183 
Rio de Santa Anna, 129 
Rio do Ouro, 20, 58, 62, 67, 73, 89, 

229 

Rio do PadrSo, 207 
Rio do Paul, 208 
Rio dos Fumos, 183 
Rio Grande, 87, 89, 132, 167, 181, 

312 

Rio Grande do Sul, 287 
Rio Roxo, 182 
Rio Verde, 182 
Rodrigo, Master, 216, 234 
Rodrigues, Francisco, charts of, 311, 

330 

Ronciere, M. C. de la, 33, 42, 49, 157 
Rotz, Jean, map of, 311 
Roupinho, Fuas, 3 
Roussillon, 190 
Roxa, island, 182 
Roxo, cape, 129, 182 



Rubruck, William of, 214 

Rumes, 296 

Rutters, 325, 327, 331 

Sacrobosco, John, 318 

Safi, 204; abandoned by Portuguese, 
179; gold trade with, 105$ raided, 
27; taken by Portuguese, 179 

Sagres, 152, 156; Academy of, 163-6 

Sagres, cape, 181 

Sahara, commerce in, 68; salt trade 
of, 103-4 

Sailing vessels, types of, 331 

St. Catherine, cape, 185, 207, 210 

St. George, island, 48, 51, 52 

St. Helena Bay, 319, 253 

St. Lawrence, river, 187 

St. Mary, island, 48, 51, 154 

St. Michael, island, 48, 50 sqq. 9 154 

St. Roque, cape, 287 

St. Thomas, island, 185, 211, 300, 

3*9 
St. Vincent, cape, 29, 45, 70, 229, 

3325 battle off, 5 
Salas, J. de, 13 
Salle, Gadifer de la, 42 
Salt, paid as hire for vessels, 135 trade 

of Sahara, 103-4 
Saltes, battle of, 10 
Sambigeny, 134 
Sampayo, L. Teixeira de, 1 7 
S. Andre", island, 124 
. Christo<uam> inventory of contents 

of ship, 14 

Sancho I, King, fleet of, 3 
Sancho II, King, arsenal established 

by, 3 

Sande, Ruy de, 238 

S. Domingo, river, 129, 131 

Santa Anna, cape, 183 

Santa Maria das Neves, river, 183 

Santarem, 153, 217 

Santarem, John de, 185 

Santarem, Visconde de, 121 

Santiago, island, discovery of, 124, 
142; exports of, 144-5; sacked by 
Ajidalusian fleet, 195; 253 

Santiago, John de, 210, 222 

Santos, Dr. Reynaldo dos, 177 

Sanuto, Marino, 30, 327 

San Vicente, river, 182 

Saragossa, treaties of, 305 

S alidades da Terra, 36, 41 

Schedel, 211 



35 



INDEX 



Schefer, Charles, 94 

Schurhammer, Father G., 314 

Sea law in Mediterranean, 12 

Sea of Darkness, 54 

Seligo, chart of, 207, 329 

Selvagens, islands, 182 

Semanagu, 134 

Senegal, kingdom of, 107 

Senegal, river, 28, 33, 74, 84, 87, 

167; proposed fort on, 212; 

visited by Cadamosto, 106; tide 

of, 1 06 

Sequeira, Diogo Lopes de, 298 
Sequeira, Ruy de, 185 
Serra Geley, 133-4? 136 
Serrao, Francisco, 304 
Serreri, tribe, 115 
Setubal, 152, 249 
Seven Cities, island, 227 
Sevill, Diogo de, 49 
Seville, 6, 194 
Ships, baptism of, 333; names of, 

333-45 types of, 331 
Siam, 309 

Sierra Leone, 34, 134, 167, 171, 182 
Sigismund, Emperor, 16, 147 
Silva, Diogo da, 46-7 
Silva, John Gomes da, 20 
Silva, Dr. Luciano Pereira da, 316 
Silves, capture of, 3 
Sinai, 221 
Sines, 88, 249, 269 
Sintra, Goncalo de, 64, 72 
Sintra, Pedro de, voyage of, 180 sqq. 
Sixtus VI, Pope, 239 
Skolp, Jon, 187 
Society of Jesus, and exploration, 

310; missionaries of, 221 
Socotra, 298 
Soderini, Letter to, 288 
Sodre", Vasco Gil, 52 
Sodr6, Vincent, 294 
Sofala, 33, 219, 220, 256, 291 
Solis, John Dias de, 330-31 
Somandu, 135 
Songhay Empire, 104 
Soure, 163 

Sousa, Caetano de, 152, 161, 170 
Sousa, M. de Faria e, 27 
Sousa, Goncalo de, 211 
Sousa, Luis de, 155 
Sousa, Martin Afonso de, 325 
Sousa, Admiral Moraes e, 2616 
Sousa Holstein, Marquis de, 154 



Southern Cross, observations on, 321 

sq$. 
Spain, expulsion of Moors from, 237; 

captures Gibraltar, 174; invades 

Portugal, 190 
Spanish and Portuguese spheres, 

lines of demarcation, 241, 305; 

fishing rights regulated, 243; 

sovereigns, Papal Bulls in favour 

of, 239 
Spice, as royal monopoly, 301; 

trade in, 297; transport and use 

of, 267 

Spice Islands, 304 
Suakin, 218 

Sugar industry in Madeira, 40 
Sukkertoppen, 272 
Sumbawa, 312 

Tabite, river, 88 

Taforeas, 333 

Tagus, river, blockade of, 12; ship- 
building in, 13 

Tahiti, 331 

Talmond, Count of, see Cerda 

Tamau, 308 

Tangier, attacks on, 46, 173; ceded 
to England, 180; expedition to, 
58 sqq., 1515 occupied by Portu- 
guese, 177 

Taprobana (Ceylon), 289 

Targa taken by Portuguese, 178 

Tegazza, 102-103 

Teive, Diogo de, 40, 171 

Teixeira, Tristan Vaz, 37, 80, 89 

Teles, Ferdinand, 229 

TenerifFe, island, 8, 975 conquest of, 
48; inhabitants of, 98 

Terceira, island, 48, 50, 52, 154, 187, 
246, 271 

Ternate, 304 

Terra Alta, 28, 252 

Thibet, 310 

Thomar, 163 

Three Points, cape, 202 

Tider, island, 70, 78; conquest of, 81 
sqq. 

Tidor, 304 

Timbuktu, 28, 100, 102, 104, 133, 
136, 212 

Timor, 313 

Tingitania, 45 

Tinoco, Aires, 87 

Tlemcen, 134, 216 



THE PORTUGUESE PIONEERS 



Toledo, Treaty of, 48, 192 

Tor, 218 

Tordesillas, Treaty of, 241, 243, 

277, 30$ 

Toro, battle of, 190 
Torre do Tombo, 9, 330 
Toscanelli, Paolo, 188-89, 323 
Travassos, Rodrigueannes de, 85 
Trigoso, F. M., 94 
TristSo, Nuno, expeditions of, 64-5, 

68, third voyage of, 74; death of, 

87> 133 
Tuat, 104 
Tucurol, 212 
Tucusor, 107 
Tunis, 104, 134 
Tunis, King of, 33 
Two Palms, 124 

Usodimare, Antoniotto, meets Cada- 
mosto, 109, 115, 121 ; letter to his 
creditors, 121; reaches River 
Gambia, 12 ij second voyage of, 
122 

Valencia, 218 

Valladares, Diogo Annes de, 64 

Vallarte, 90, 121, 131, 186 

Valsecca, Gabriel, map of, 48-9, 328 

Vasconcellos, Jorge de, 329 

Vega, Ruy Diaz de, 20, 23 

Velho, Alvaro, 250 

Velho, Bartholomew, 331 

Velho, Goncalo, investigates cur- 
rents at Canaries, 28$ expedition 
of, 31; and the Azores, 50 sqq. 

Velloso, FernSo, 254 

Venezuela, Portuguese expedition to, 
242 

Venice, 195, 197 

Vera Cruz (Brazil), 278; natives of, 
279; reached by Cabral, 278} see 
Brazil 

Verde, cape, see Cape Verde 

Verga, cape, 181 

Vespucci, Amerigo, 94; early life of, 
289; expeditions of, 288-9; re- 
puted fourth voyage of, 290 

Viana, Count of, 148 

Vicente, Martin, 229 

Vignaud, H., 165-6, 189, 236 

Vilhena, Maria de, 52 

Villa do Infante, 28 

Villa Vicosa, 197 



Vinagre, Gomes, 130 

Viterbo, Sousa, 46, 314 

Vivaldi, expedition of, 5, 32, 34, 

90, 121 

Vizeu, Duke of, 198 

Vizinho, Joseph, 206, 217, 234, 317 

Vogado, John, 228 

Wadan (Oden), 100 sqq. y 105 

Walvis Bay, 223 

Welzer trading house, 296 

Windsor, Treaty of, 175 

Wine, industry in Madeira, 41; 

supplied to Magellan's fleet, 335 
Wolkenstein, Oswald von, 23 
Wood exported from Madeira, 39 

Xavier, St. Francis, 299 
Ximeira, 150 
Xira, Frei John, 23 

Zacuto, Abraham, 206, 251, 317, 
320, 323 

Zaire, river, 207 

Zarco, John Goncalves, sends to 
explore coast of W. Africa, 86, 
885 voyages of, 36-7, 80, 84 

Zaya, 141 

Zeno, Marco, 95 

Zuccolin, King of Senegal, 107 

Zurara, Gomes Eannes de, Chron- 
icle of Duarte de Menezes, 153$ 
Chronicle of Guinea, 37, 39, 52, 

91, 130, 155, 157, 164 sqq., 168 
sqq., 316; Chronicle of Pedro de 
Menezes, 146; estimate of Henry 
the Navigator, 158 sqq.; horo- 
scope of Henry the Navigator, 
316; narratives of, 9, 24, 26, 28- 
3> 3* 3^ ? 49? 6 *> 7> 74> 84; on 
African nets, 58; on Cape Verde 
expedition, 90-915 on caravels, 
332$ on charts, 328; on colonisa- 
tion of Azores, 51; on conquest 
of Tider, 82; on death of Queen 
Philippa, 22; on expedition to 
Ceuta, 13, 19, 21, 151; on ex- 
ploration of W. Africa, 54 sqq^ 
on Guinea captives, 73; on John 
Fernandes* travels, 77; on maps 
of west coast of Africa, 164; on 
Henry the Navigator's reasons for 
exploration, 17; on settlement at 
Madeira and Porto Santo, 37 
sqq.\ visits Africa, 146 



35 2